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Family Affairs My First Evening at Saint Cloud General Moreau M. de Ee- 
rnusat is made Prefect, and I, Lady of the Palace Habits of the First 
Consul and of Mme. Bonaparte M. de Talleyrand The Family of the 
First Consul Miles. Georges and Duchesnois Mme. Bonaparte's Jeal- 
ousy .... 8 <f 



A Eeturn to the Customs of the Monarchy M. de Fontanes Mme. d'Houde- 
tot Burners of "War Meeting of the Corps Legislatif Departure of the 
English Ambassador M. Maret Marshal Berthier Journey of the First 
Consul to Belgium A Carriage Accident The Amiens Fetes . . 65 


Continuation of the Journey to Belgium Opinions of the First Consul on 
Gratitude, on Glory, and on the French Ghent, Malines, and Brussels 
The Clergy M. de Eoquelaure Eeturn to Saint Cloud Preparations for 
an Invasion of England Marriage of Mme. Leclerc Journey of the 
First Consul to Boulogne Illness of M. de Eemusat I rejoin him Con- 
versations with the First Consul . . . . . .80 



Continuation of the First Consul's Conversations at Boulogne Ecading of 
the Tragedy of "Philippe Auguste" My New Impressions Eeturn to 
Paris Mme. Bonaparte's Jealousy Winter Fetes of 1804 M. de Fon- 
tanes M. Fouche* Savary Pichegru Arrest of General Moreau . 101 





The Arrest of Georges Cadoudal The Mission of M. de Caulaincourt to 
Ettenheim The Arrest of the Due d'Enghien My Distress and my 
Urgency with Mme. Bonaparte An Evening at Malmaison The Death 
of the Due d'Enghien Kemarkable "Words of the First Consul . . 120 



The Impression produced in Paris by the Death of the Due d'Enghien The 
First Consul's Efforts to dispel it Performance at the Opera House- 
Death of Pichegru Breach between Bonaparte and his Brother Lucien 
Project of adopting the Young Napoleon Foundation of the Empire . 140 


Effects and Causes of the Accession of Bonaparte to the Imperial Throne 
The Emperor converses The Grievances of Mme. Murat The Character 
of M. de Ke"mu8at The New Court . , 158 



(1804.) PAGB 

The Trial of General Moreau Condemnation of MM. de Polignac, De Ei- 
viere, etc. Pardon of M. de Polignae A Letter from Louis XVHI . 179 



Plans for the Invasion An Article in the " Moniteur "The Great Offi- 
cers of State The Ladies-in- Waiting The Anniversary of July 14th 
Beauty of the Empress Projects of Divorce Preparations for the Coro- 
nation .......... 192 


The Pope's Arrival in Paris The Plebiscitum The Marriage of the Em- 
press Josephine The Coronation Fetes in the Champ de Mars, at the 
Ope"ra, etc. The Court of the Empress 214 



The Emperor in Love Mme. de X . Mme. de Damas The Empress con- 
fides in me Palace Intrigues Murat is raised to the Bank of Prince . 229 




Opening of the Session of the Senate M. do Talleyrand's Eeport Letter from 
the Emperor to the King of England Union of the Crown of Italy to the 
Empire Mme. Bacciochi becomes Princess of Piombino Performance 
of " Athalie " The Emperor goes to Italy His Dissatisfaction M. de 
Talleyrand Prospect of War with Austria ..... 



Fe"tes at Verona and Genoa Cardinal Maury My Retired Life in the Country 
Mme. Louis Bonaparte " Les Templiers " The Emperor's Eeturn 
His Amusements The Marriage of M. de Talleyrand War is declared 



(1805.) PAGE 

M. de Talleyrand and M. Fouche" The Emperor's Speech to the Senate 
The Departure of the Emperor The Bulletins of the Grand Army Pov- 
erty in Paris during the War The Emperor and the Marshals The Fau- 
bourg St. Germain Trafalgar Journey of M. de K6musat to Vienna . 284 



The Battle of Austerlitz The Emperor Alexander Negotiations Prince 
Charles M. d' Andre* M. de Ee*musat in Disgrace Duroc Savary The 
Treaty of Peace . . . . . . . .303 


State of Paris during the War Cambace'res Le Brun Mme. Louis Bona- 
parteMarriage of Eugene de Beauharnais Bulletins and Proclama- 
tions Admiration of the Emperor for the Queen of Bavaria Jealousy of 

the Empress M. de Nansouty Mme. de . Conquest of Naples 

Position and Character of the Emperor . . . . .321 


The Death of Pitt Parliamentary Debates in England Public Works In- 
dustrial Exhibition New Etiquette Performances at the Opera House 
and at the Come'die Franijaise Monotony of the Court Opinions of the 
Empress Mine. Louis Bonaparte Mme. Murat The Bourbons New 
Ladies-in- Waiting M. Mole Mme. d'Houdetot Mme. de Barante . 341 


The Emperor's Civil List His Household and its Expenses Dress of the 
Empress and of Mme. Murat Louis Bonaparte Prince Borghese Fetes 
at Court The Empress's Family Marriage of Princess Stephanie 
Jealousy of the Empress Theatricals at Malmaison . . . 365 


The Emperor's Court His Ecclesiastical Household His Military House- 
holdThe Marshals The Ladies Delille Chateaubriand Mme. de 
Genlis Romances Literature Arts . . . . . 387 



(1806.) PAGB 

Senatus-Consultum of the 30th of March Foundation of Monarchies and 

Duchies Queen Hortense . . . . . . .419 



I go to Cauterets The King of Holland Factitious Tranquillity of France 
M. de Metternich The New Catechism The Germanic Confedera- 
tion Poland Death of Mr. Fox "War is declared Departure of the 
Emperor M. Pasquier and M. Mold Session of the Senate The Open- 
ing of Hostilities The Court Eeception of Cardinal Maury . . 439 



Death of Prince Louis of Prussia Battle of Jena The Queen of Prussia 
and the Emperor Alexander The Emperor and the Ee volution Court 
Life at Mayence Life in Paris Marshal Brune Taking of Lubeck 
The Princess of Hatzfeld The Auditors of the State Council Suffer- 
ings of the Army The King of Saxony Battle of Eylau . . . 463 


The Eeturn of the Empress to Paris The Imperial Family Junot Fouch6 
The Queen of Holland Levy of the Conscripts of 1808 Theatricals at 
Court Letter from the Emperor Siege of Dantzic Death of the Em- 
press of Austria Death of Queen Hortense'a Son M. Decazes The 
Emperor's Want of Feeling 486 



The Duke of Dantzic Fouche's Police Battle of Friedland M. de La- 
meth Treaty of Tilsit Eeturn of the Emperor M. de Talleyrand 
The Ministers The Bishops 505 



(1807.) PAG* 

Vexations at Court Friendship with M. de Talleyrand General Kapp Gen- 
eral Clarke Session of the Legislative Bodies The Emperor's Speech 
Fetes of the 15th of August Marriage of Jerome Bonaparte Death of Le 
Brun The Abbe Delille M. de Chateaubriand Dissolution of the 
Tribunate The Court removes to Fontainebleau . 523 


The Power of the Emperor Resistance of the English The Emperor's 
Life at Fontainebleau Plays Talma King J4rome The Princess of 
Baden The Grand Duchess of Berg Princess Borghese Cambace'res 
Foreign Princes Spanish Affairs Previsions of M. de Talleyrand 
M. de Ke*musat is made Superintendent of Theatres The Fortunes and 
the Difficulties of the Marshals ...... 543 


Projects of Divorce . x . . . . . . .580 



Eeturn from Fontainebleau The Emperor's Journey in Italy The Youth of 
M. de Talleyrand Fetes at the Tuileries The Emperor and the Artists 
The Emperor's Opinion of the English Government The Marriage of 
Mile, de Tascher Count Eomanzoff Marriage of Marshal Berthier 
The University Affairs of Spain . .... 603 



The "War with Spain The Prince of the Peace The Prince of the Asturias 
The Abdication of King Charles IV. The Departure of the Emperor 
His Sojourn at Bayorme Letter of the Emperor Arrival of the 
Princes in France Birth of the Second Son of the Queen of Holland- 
Abdication of the Prince of the Asturias . . . . 631 



NOTES 6 ? 7 



MY father bequeathed to me the manuscript of the me- 
moirs of my grandmother, who was lady-in-waiting to the 
Empress Josephine, accompanied by an injunction that I 
should publish them. He regarded those memoirs as ex- 
tremely important to the history of the first portion of the 
present century, and had frequently contemplated publishing 
them himself ; but he was always hindered from doing so, 
either by his other duties, by his many labors, or by certain 
scruples. He deferred the moment at which the public was 
to be made acquainted with these valuable reminiscences of 
an epoch recent, indeed, but respecting which the present 
generation is so ill informed precisely because that epoch 
was recent, and many persons who had been involved in its 
important events were still living. Although the author of 
these memoirs can not be accused of intentional malice, she 
passes judgment upon persons and things very freely. A cer- 
tain consideration, which is not always consonant with the 
verity of history, is due, not only to the living, but to the 
children of the dead ; the years passed on, however, and the 
reasons for silence diminished with the lapse of time. 

About 1848 my father would perhaps have allowed this 
manuscript to see the light ; but the empire and the Emperor 
returned, and then the book might have been regarded either 
as a piece of flattery tendered to the son of Queen Hortense, 
who is very gently handled by the writer, or as a direct insult, 
on other points, to the dynasty. Circumstances had thus 
given a polemic character an aspect of actuality, as the 


phrase goes to a work which should be regarded as a candid 
and impartial history, the narrative of a remarkable woman, 
who relates with simple sincerity that which she witnessed 
at the court and during the reign of the Emperor, and who 
records her estimate of him as an individual. In any case, it 
is probable that the book would have been prosecuted, and 
its publication interdicted. I may add, lest any should con- 
sider these reasons insufficient, that my father, who was al- 
ways willing that his politics, his opinions, and his personal 
conduct should be discussed by the critics and the press, who 
lived in the full glare of publicity, yet shrank with great re- 
luctance from placing names which were dear to him before 
the public. That they should incur the slightest censure, 
that they should be uttered with any severity of tone, he 
dreaded extremely. He was timid when either his mother 
or his son was in question. His love for his mother had been 
the " grand passion " of his life. To her he ascribed all the 
happiness of his youth, every merit which he possessed, and 
all the success of every kind that had come to him through- 
out his whole existence. He derived from her his qualities 
alike of heart and mind ; he was bound to her by the tie of 
close similarity of ideas, as well as by that of filial affection. 
Her memory, her letters, her thoughts occupied a place in 
his life which few suspected, for he seldom spoke of her, pre- 
cisely because he was always thinking of her, and he would 
have feared imperfect sympathy from others in his admira- 
tion of her who was incomparable in his eyes. Who among 
us does not know what it is to be united by a passionate, 
almost fierce affection to one who is no more ; ceaselessly to 
think of that beloved one, to question, to dream, to be always 
under the impression of the vanished presence of the silent 
counsels ; to feel that the life gone from us is mixed up with 
our own life, every day, not only on great occasions, and in 
all our actions, whether public or private ; and yet, that we 
can not bear to speak to others of the ever-present occupant 
of our thoughts no, not even to our dearest friends and 


can not even hear the dear name uttered without secret pain 
and disquiet? Rarely, indeed, can even the sweetness of 
praise lavished upon that name by a friend or a stranger 
avail to soothe our deep, mysterious trouble, or render it 

While, however, a proper and natural sentiment dictates 
that memoirs should not appear until a considerable time has 
elapsed, it is equally desirable that their publication should 
not be delayed until all trace of the facts related, of the im- 
pressions made, or of the eye-witnesses of events has passed 
away. In order that the accuracy, or at least the sincerity 
of memoirs may not be disputed, each family should be in a 
position to substantiate them by its own recollections ; and it 
is well that the generation which reads them should follow 
that which they depict. The records they contain are all the 
more useful because the times which they chronicle have not 
yet become altogether historic. This is our case at the pres- 
ent moment, and the great name of Napoleon is still a party 
battle-cry. It is interesting to introduce a new element into 
the strife which rages around that majestic shade. Although 
the epoch of the First Empire has been much discussed by 
the writers of memoirs, the inner life of the imperial palace 
has never been handled freely, and in detail ; and for this 
good reasons have existed. The functionaries or the fre- 
quenters of the court of Napoleon I. did not care to reveal 
with entire unreserve the story of the time they had passed 
in his service. The majority, having joined the Legitimist 
ranks after the Restoration, were humiliated by the remem- 
brance that they had served the usurper, especially in offices 
which are generally held to be ennobled only by the heredi- 
tary greatness of him who confers them ; and their descend- 
ants would have been disconcerted had such manuscripts 
been left to them, by their authors, with the obligation of 
giving them to the world. It would, perhaps, be difficult to 
find another editor, also a grandson, who could publish such 
a work so willingly as I. The talent of the writer and the 


utility of her book affect me much more than the difference 
between the opinions of my grandmother and those of her 
descendants. My father's life, his renown, the political creed 
which is his most precious bequest to me, absolve me from 
any necessity for explaining how and why it is that I do not 
necessarily adopt all the views of the author of these Me- 
moirs. On the contrary, it would be easy to find in this 
book the first traces of that liberal spirit which animated 
my grandparents in the first days of the Revolution, which 
was transmitted to and happily developed in their son. It 
was almost being liberal already not to regard the principles 
of political liberty with hatred at the end of the last century, 
when so many people were ready to lay crimes which tar- 
nished the Revolution to the charge of that liberty, and to 
pass judgment, notwithstanding the true admiration and the 
deep gratitude with which they regarded the Emperor, on 
the defects of his character and the evils of despotism. 

Such valuable impartiality was rare indeed among the 
contemporaries of the great Emperor, nor have we met with 
it in our own time among the servants of a sovereign far less 
likely to dazzle those who approached him. Such a senti- 
ment is, however, easy at the present day. Events have 
brought France into a state in which she is ready to receive 
everything with equanimity, to judge every one with equity. 
We have observed many changes of opinion concerning the 
early years of the present century. One need not have 
reached a very advanced stage of life to recall a time when 
the legend of the Empire was accepted even by the enemies 
of the Empire ; when it might be admired with impunity ; 
when children believed in an Emperor, who was at once a 
grand personage and a good fellow, somewhat like the notion 
of God entertained by Beranger, who indeed turned both 
God and Napoleon into heroes for his odes. The most <Je- 
tennined adversaries of despotism, those who were them- 
selves destined to undergo persecution by a new Empire, 
brought back to France the mortal remains of Napoleon the 

PREFACE. v ii 

Great his " ashes," as, lending an antique coloring to a mod- 
em ceremony, it was the fashion to say just then. At a later 
date, experience of the Second Empire opened the eyes, even 
of those who do not admit passion into politics, to the truth 
respecting the first. The disasters brought upon France in 
1870, by Napoleon III., have reminded us that it was the 
other Emperor who commenced that fatal work; and an 
almost general malediction rises to the lips of the nation at 
that name Bonaparte which was once uttered with re- 
spectful enthusiasm. So fluctuating is the justice of nations! 
It is, however, allowable to say that the justice of France 
to-day comes nearer to true justice than at the time when, 
swayed by the longing for rest and the dread of liberty, she 
surrendered herself to the passion for military glory. Be- 
tween these two extremes how many modes of opinion have 
arisen, and gone through their several phases of triumph and 
decline ! It will be evident to all readers, I hope, that the 
author of the following Memoirs, who came to the Court in 
her youth, regarded those problems which were then and still 
are in debate, although General Bonaparte thought he had 
solved them, with an entire absence of prejudice. Her opin- 
ions were formed by degrees, like the opinions of France 
itself, which was also very young in those days. She was at 
first dazzled and aroused to enthusiasm by the great genius of 
the age, but she afterward recovered the balance of her judg- 
ment by the aid of events and of contact with other minds. 
More than one of our contemporaries may find in these Me- 
moirs an explanation of the conduct or the state of mind of 
some persons of their kin whose Bonapartism or Liberalism 
at different epochs has hitherto appeared inexplicable to them. 
And also not their least merit in my eyes these Memoirs 
will reveal to the reader the first germs of a remarkable tal- 
ent, which was developed in the writer's son to a supreme 

A brief summary of the life of my grandmother, or at 
least of the period which preceded her arrival at Court, is 

viii PREFACE. 

indispensable to the reader's comprehension of the impres- 
sions and the remembrances which she brought thither. My 
father had frequently projected a complete biography of his 
parents, and had, indeed, sketched out some portions of the 
work. He did not leave any of it in a finished condition ; 
but a great number of notes and fragments written by his 
own hand, concerning the members of his family, his own 
youthful opinions, and persons whom he had known, render 
it easy to narrate the incidents of my grandmother's early 
years, the feelings with which she entered upon her life at 
Court, and the circumstances that led her to write her Me- 
moirs. It is also in my power to add some comments upon 
her by her son, which will lead the reader to know and es- 
teem her. It was my father's strong desire that her readers 
should be inspired with kindly sentiments toward the object 
of his own devoted love and admiration ; and I believe that 
the perusal of her reminiscences, and especially of her cor- 
respondence, which is also to be given to the public in due 
time, can not fail to secure the realization of his wish. 


Claire Elisabeth Jeanne Gravier de Yergennes was born 
on the 5th of January, 1780. Her father was Charles Gra- 
vier de Yergennes, Counselor to the Parliament of Bur- 
gundy, Master of Kequests,* afterward Intendant of Auch, 
and finally Director of the Yingtiemes. f My great-grand- 
father was not, therefore, as it has been frequently but erro- 
neously stated, the minister who was so well known as the 
Comte de Yergennes. That minister had an elder brother 
who was called " the Marquis," the first of the family, I be- 
lieve, who bore such a title. This marquis had quitted the 

* An officer in France, whose duty it is to report petitions to the Council of 

f The Vingtibne was a tax imposed, under the ancien regime, on land and 
house property, and which amounted to a twentieth of the revenue. 


magistracy to enter upon a diplomatic career. He was act- 
ing as minister in Switzerland in 1777, when the French 
treaties with the Helvetian Republic were renewed. After- 
ward he was given the title of ambassador. His son, Charles 
Gravier de Yergennes, who was born at Dijon in 1751, mar- 
ried Adelaide Franchise de Bastard, born about 1760. This 
lady's family came originally from Gascony, and a branch of 
it, whose members distinguished themselves at the bar and 
in the magistracy, was settled at Toulouse. Her father, 
Dominique de Bastard, born at Laffitte (Haute-Garonne), had 
been one of the counselors to the parliament, and was the 
senior counselor at the time of his death. His bust is in the 
Salle des Illustres in the Capitol. He took an active part in 
the measures of Chancellor Maupeou. His daughter's hus- 
band, M. de Yergennes, being a member of the legal pro- 
fession, bore, as was the custom under the old regime, no 
title. It is said that he was a man of only ordinary ability, 
who took his pleasure in life without much discrimination, 
but also that he had good sense and was a useful official. He 
belonged to that administrative school of which MM. de 
Trudaine were the leaders. 

Madame de Yergennes, of whom my father constantly 
spoke, was a person of more individuality of character ; she 
was both clever and good. When he was quite a child, my 
father was on most confidential terms with her, as grandsons 
frequently are with their grandmothers. In his bright and 
kindly nature, his pleasant raillery, which was never mali- 
cious, he resembled her ; and from her he also inherited his 
musical gifts, a good voice for singing, and a quick memory 
for the airs and couplets of the vaudevilles of the day. He 
never lost his habit of humming the popular songs of the old 
regime. Madame de Yergennes had the ideas of her time 
a touch of philosophy, stopping short of incredulity, and a 
certain repugnance to the Court, although she regarded Louis 
XYI. with affection and respect. Her intellect, which was 
bright, practical, and independent, was highly cultivated ; 


her conversation was brilliant and sometimes very free, after 
the manner of the period. Nevertheless, she gave her two 
daughters, Claire and Alix,* a strict and indeed rather soli- 
tary education, for it was the fashion of that day that parents 
should see but little of their children. The two sisters studied 
in a large, fireless room, apart from the rest of the house, 
under the inspection of a governess, and were instructed in 
what may be called the frivolous arts music, drawing, and 
dancing. They were seldom taken to see a play, but they 
were occasionally indulged with a visit to the opera, and now 
and then with a ball. 

M. de Vergennes had not desired or foreseen the Revolu- 
tion ; but he was neither displeased nor alarmed by it. He 
and his friends belonged to that citizen class, ennobled by 
holding public offices, which seemed to be the nation itself, 
and he can not have found himself much out of his place 
among those who were called "the electors of '89." He 
was elected a member of the Council of the Commune, and 
made a major in the National Guard. M. de Lafayette, 
whose granddaughter was to become the wife of M. de Ver- 
gennes's grandson, forty years after, and M. Eoyer-Collard, 
whom that grandson was to succeed at the French Academy, 
treated him like one of themselves. His opinions were more 
in accordance with those of M. Royer-Collard than with those 
of H. de Lafayette, and the French Revolution soon shot far 
ahead of him. He did not, however, feel any inclination to 
emigrate. His patriotism, as well as his attachment to Louis 
XYL, led him to remain in France ; and thus he was unable 
to elude that fate which, in 1793, threatened all who were in 
positions similar to his and of the same way of thinking. 
He was falsely accused of intending to emigrate, by the 
Administration of the Department of Saone et Loire; his 
property was placed under sequestration ; and he was arrest- 
ed in Paris, at the house in the Rue Saint Eustache which 

* Some years later, Mademoiselle Alix de Vergennes married General de 



he had inhabited since 1788. The man who arrested him 
had no warrant from the Committee of Public Safety except 
for the arrest of M. de Yergennes's father. He took the son 
because he lived with the father, and both died on the same 
scaffold on the 6th Thermidor (24th July, 1794), three days 
before the fall of Robespierre.* 

M. de Yergennes's death left his unhappy wife and daugh- 
ters unprotected, and in straitened circumstances, as he had 
sold his estate in Burgundy a short time previously, and its 
price had been confiscated by the nation. There remained 
to them, however, one friend, not powerful, indeed, but full 
of zeal and good will. This was a young man with whom 
M. de Yergennes had become acquainted in the early days 
of the Revolution, whose family had formerly been of some 
importance in the commercial world, and also in the civic 
administration of Marseilles, so that the younger members 
were taking their places in the magistracy and in the army, 
in short, among " the privileged," as the phrase then went. 
This young man,.Augustin Laurent de Remusat, was born 
at Yalensoles, in Provence, on the 28th of August, 1762. 
After having studied, with great credit, at Juilly, the former 
seat of that Oratorian College which still exists near Paris, 
he was nominated, at twenty years of age, advocate-general 
to the Cour des Aides and the Charribre des Comptes JReunies f 
of Provence. My father has sketched the portrait of that 
young man, his arrival in Paris, and his life in the midst of 
the new society. The following note tells, better than I 
could, how M. de Remusat loved and married Mademoiselle 
Claire de Yergennes : 

" The society of Aix, a city in which nobles dwelt and a 
parliament assembled, was of the brilliant order. My father 
lived a great deal in society. He was of an agreeable pres- 

* For the text of the accusation against M. de Vergennes, see Appendix. 

f These obsolete institutions have no English equivalents. They are, re- 
spectively, the auxiliary and superior courts established for the examination of 
the accounts of the receivers of the money of the state. 


ence, had a great deal of pleasant humor, fine and polished 
manners, high spirits, and a reputation for gallantry. He 
sought and obtained all the social success that a young man 
could desire. Nevertheless, he attended sedulously to his 
profession, which he liked, and he married, in 1783, Made- 
moiselle de Sannes, the daughter of the Procureur- General 
of his Compagnie. This marriage was dissolved by the death 
of Madame de Remusat, who died shortly after the birth of 
a daughter. 

" The Revolution broke out ; the supreme courts were 
suppressed ; and the settling of their business was a serious 
and important affair. In order to carry it through, the 
Cour des Aides sent a deputation to Paris. My father was 
one of the delegates. He has often told me that he then 
had occasion to see M. de Mirabeau, deputy for Aix, on the 
business of his mission ; and, notwithstanding his prejudices 
as an adherent of the old parliaments, he was charmed with 
Mirabeau's pompous politeness. My father never told me 
details of his manner of living, so that I do not know 
what were the circumstances under which he went to the 
house of my grandfather Yergennes. He passed through 
the terrible years of the Revolution alone and unknown in 
Paris, and without any personal mishaps. Society no longer 
existed. His company was therefore all the more agreeable, 
and even the more useful to my grandmother (Madame de 
Yergennes), who was involved in great anxieties and mis- 
fortunes. My father used to tell me that my grandfather 
was a commonplace sort of man, but he soon learned to ap- 
preciate my grandmother very highly, and she conceived a 
liking for him. She was a wise, moderate-minded woman, 
who entertained no fancies, cherished no prejudices, and 
gave way to no impulses. She distrusted everything in 
which there was any exaggeration, and detested affectation 
of every kind, but she was readily touched by solid worth 
and by genuine feeling ; while her clear-headedness and her 
practical, somewhat sarcastic turn of mind preserved her 


from everything that lacked prudence or morality. Her 
head was never betrayed by her heart ; but, as she had suf- 
fered from the neglect of a husband to whom she was supe- 
rior, she was disposed to make inclination and choice the 
ruling motives of marriage. 

"Immediately after the death of my grandfather, a 
decree was issued, by which all nobles were ordered to quit 
Paris. Madame de Yergennes retired to Saint Gratien, in 
the valley of Montmorency, with her two daughters, Claire 
and Alix ; and she gave my father permission to follow her 
thither. His presence was precious to them. His bright 
and cheerful nature, his amiability, and careful attentions to 
those he loved, made him a charming companion. His taste 
for a quiet life, the country, and seclusion, and his cultivated 
mind, exactly fitted him for a family circle composed of in- 
telligent persons, and in which education was always going 
on. I can not believe that my grandmother did not early 
foresee and acquiesce in that which was destined to happen, 
even supposing there was not at that time anything to read 
in the heart of her daughter. It is certain, for my mother 
says so in several of her letters, that, although she was then 
only a child, her prematurely serious turn of mind, her sen- 
sitive and emotional nature, her vivid imagination, and 
finally, the combined influences of intimacy, solitude, and 
misfortune, all united to inspire her with an interest in my 
father, which had from the first all the characteristics of a 
lofty and abiding sentiment. I do not think I have ever 
met a woman in whom so much moral strictness was com- 
bined with so much romantic sensibility as in my mother. 
Her youth, her extreme youth, was, as it were, steadied by 
those fortunate circumstances which bound her to duty by 
ties of passion, and procured for her that rare combination, 
peace of soul and the delightful agitation of the heart. 

" She was not tall, but her figure was elegant and well 
proportioned. She was fair and plump ; indeed, it used to 
be feared that she would grow too fat. Her eyes were fine 


and expressive, black, like her hair ; her features were regu- 
lar, but rather too large. Her countenance was grave, al- 
most imposing ; but the intelligent kindliness of her glance 
tempered the gravity of her features very pleasantly. Her 
strong, well-trained, fertile intellect had certain virile quali- 
ties, with which the extreme vividness of her imagination 
frequently clashed. She possessed sound judgment and 
keen powers of observation, and she was entirely unaffected 
in her manners and in her modes of expression, although 
she was not without a certain subtlety of ideas. In reality, 
she was profoundly reasonable, but she was headstrong ; her 
intellect was more reasonable than herself. In her youth 
she lacked gayety and probably ease, may have appeared to 
be pedantic because she was serious, affected because she was 
silent, absent-minded, and indifferent to almost all the small 
things of every-day life. But, with her mother, whose 
cheerful moods she sometimes crossed, with her husband, 
whose simple tastes and easy temper she never crossed, she 
was not wanting in richness and freedom. She had even a 
kind of gayety of her own, which developed as she grew 
older, when, having been very absent and absorbed in her 
own thoughts while she was very young, she became more 
like her mother. I have often thought that, if she had lived 
long enough to share the house in which I am writing to- 
day, she would have been the merriest of us all." 

My father wrote these lines in 1857, at Laffitte (Haute- 
Garonne), where all those whom he loved were assembled, 
and we were gay and happy. In quoting them I am some- 
what outrunning my narrative, for he speaks here of his 
mother as of a woman and not as of a young girl, and Claire 
de Yergennes, when she married, early in the year 1796, was 
hardly sixteen years old. 

M. and Mme. de Kmusat for thus I shall designate 
them henceforth, for the sake of clearness in my story 
lived sometimes in Paris, and sometimes in a modest country 
house at Saint Gratien, a residence which had two strong 


recommendations the beauty of the landscape and the at- 
traction of the neighborhood. 

Nearest and pleasantest of neighbors were the owners of 
Sannois, with whom Madame de Yergennes was very inti- 
mate. Jean Jacques Rousseau's "Confessions," Madame 
d'Epinay's " Memoires," and a hundred works of the last 
century as well, have made the place and the persons known 
to the world. Madame d'Houdetot (Sophie de Lalive) had 
lived peacefully, in her old age, throughout the troublous 
time of the Revolution in that country house, in the society 
of her husband and of M. de Saint Lambert.* Between the 
famous trio and the young couple at Saint Gratien so close 
an intimacy was formed that, when the house at Saint Gra- 
tien was sold, my grandparents hired one within a shorter 
distance of the residence of their friends, and a way of com- 
munication was made between the gardens of their respective 
abodes. By degrees, however, M. de Remusat got into the 
habit of going to Paris more and more frequently ; and, as 
the times became quieter, he began to think of emerging 
from obscurity, and from the narrow circumstances to which 
he was reduced by the confiscation of the property of his 
wife's father and the loss of his own place in the magistracy. 
As is always the case in France, it was of employment in 
some public function that he thought. He had no relations 
with the Government, or even with M. de Talleyrand, who 
was then Foreign Minister, but he directed his efforts toward 
that department, and obtained, if not exactly a place, at least 
an occupation, which was likely to lead to a place, in the 
office of the solicitors to the Ministry. 

Besides the agreeable and intellectual relations which 
they maintained with Sannois, M. and Mme. de Remusat 
had formed an intimacy no less close, but which was destined 
to exercise a much greater influence over their fortunes, 
with Madame de Beauharnais, who, in 1796, became the 
wife of Bonaparte. When her friend had acquired power 

* Soe Appendix. 


through her all-powerful husband, Madame de Yergennes 
applied to her on behalf of her son-in-law, who wished to 
enter the Council of State or the Administration. The 
First Consul, however, or his wife, had a different idea of 
what ought to be done. The consideration and respect in 
which Madame de Yergennes was held, her social station, 
her name which was allied both to the old regime and to 
the new ideas gave a certain value to the relations of her 
family with the consular palace, which at that time had but 
little intercourse with Parisian society. Quite unexpectedly, 
M. de Remusat was appointed Prefect of the Palace, in 
1802; and shortly afterward Madame de Remusat became 
Lady-in-Waiting (Dame pour Accompagner) to Madame 
Bonaparte, a title which was soon changed into the better 
sounding one of Lady of the Palace (Dame du Palais). 


Persons of the way of thinking of M. and Mine, de 
!Remusat had no sacrifice to make in casting in their lot 
with the new regime. They had neither the extravagant 
sentiments of the Royalists, nor the austerity of the Repub- 
licans. No doubt their attitude of mind approached more 
nearly to that of the Royalists than to that of the Republi- 
cans, but their royalism reduced itself to pious veneration 
for Louis XYI. The misfortunes of that unhappy prince 
rendered his memory sacred, and his person had always been 
regarded in the family of M. de Yergennes with peculiar 
respect.; but -"Legitimacy" had not yet been invented, and 
those persons who most deeply deplored the fall of the old 
regime, or rather that of the ancient dynasty, did not hold 
themselves under any obligation to believe that everything 
done in France in the absence of the Bourbons was null and 
void. Pure and unalloyed admiration was inspired by the 
young general who was reestablishing material, if not moral 
order, with such .brilliant success, in a society which was dis- 

PREFACE. xv ii 

tiirbed after a fashion very different from that of those suc- 
cessive later times, in which so many worthless " saviours " 
have turned up. 

Public functionaries in those days adhered to the opinion 
which was very natural under the old regime, that an official 
is responsible only for what he does, and not for either the 
acts or the origin of the Government. The sense of " soli- 
darity " does not exist in absolute monarchies. The parlia- 
mentary regime has happily rendered us more sensitive, and 
all honest people now admit the collective responsibility of 
all the agents of a power. One could not nowadays serve a 
government whose tendency and general policy one did not 
approve ; but it was otherwise in former times. My father 
who had more right than any one else to be strict in these 
matters, and who, perhaps, owed somewhat of his extreme 
political scrupulousness to the difficult position in which he 
had seen his parents placed during his own childhood, be- 
tween their private impressions and their official duties 
explains these shades of difference in an unpublished letter 
to M. Sainte Beuve, to whom he had communicated certain 
biographical details for an article in the " Revue des Deux 

" It w r as not as a pis alien*, from necessity, weakness, or 
as a temporary expedient, that my parents attached them- 
selves to the new regime. Of their free will and with entire 
confidence they united themselves with its fortunes. If you 
add to that all the pleasures of an easy and prominent posi- 
tion to be stepped into from one of poverty and obscurity, 
the curiosity which a court of so novel a kind inspired, the 
incomparable interest of the spectacle of a man like the 
Emperor at an epoch when he was irreproachable, young, 
and still amiable, you can easily conceive the attraction 
which induced my parents to overlook all that was in reality 
opposed to their tastes, their reason, and even their true in- 
terests in this new position. At the end of two or three 
years, they had learned too well that a court is always a 

xviii PREFACE. 

court, and that all is not pleasure in the personal service of 
an absolute master, even though he may charm and dazzle. 
But this did not prevent their being for a long time well 
enough satisfied with their lot. My mother especially was 
much amused with all that passed before her eyes, and she 
was on very good terms with the Empress, who was ex- 
tremely kind and generous, while she enthusiastically ad- 
mired the Emperor. He treated my mother with flattering 
distinction. She was almost the only woman with whom he 
ever talked. My mother would sometimes say, after the 
Empire had ceased to exist : 

' Va, je t'ai trop aim6 pour ne pas te hair! ' ' 

Of the impressions made by the new Court upon the 
new Lady of the Palace we have no record. The security 
of the Post-office was very doubtful. Madame de Yergennes 
burned all her daughter's letters, and the correspondence of 
the latter with her husband does not commence until some 
years later, during the Emperor's journeys in Italy and Ger- 
many. Nevertheless, we can perceive from her Memoirs, 
although they do not abound in personal details, how strange 
and novel everything seemed to so very young a woman, 
transplanted all of a sudden into this palace, and an eye- 
witness of the private life of the glorious chief of an un- 
known government. She was very serious, as, when they 
are not very frivolous, the young are apt to be, and much 
disposed to observation and reflection. She seems to have 
had no taste for display, no great solicitude about external 
things, no turn for gossip or the running down of other peo- 
ple, no love of talking or display. "What was thought of her 
at that time ? "We can not tell. "We only know, from cer- 
tain passages in sundry letters and memoirs, that she was 
considered clever, and that people were a little afraid of her. 
Probably, however, her companions thought her pedantic 
rather than dangerous. She had a considerable " success," 
especially at first ; for in its early days the Court was not 

PREFACE. x ix 

numerous there were few distinctions or favors to be 
schemed for, rivalry was not very brisk or ardent. Little by 
little, however, this little society became a real court. Now, 
courtiers are always afraid of intellect, and especially of that 
disposition, unintelligible to them, which clever people have 
to interest themselves in a disinterested manner, so to speak, 
in knowing things and judging characters, without even 
thinking of turning their knowledge to their own advantage. 
Courtiers always suspect that every opinion has a hidden aim. 
Persons of quick intellect are very strongly impressed by the 
spectacle of human affairs, even when they are merely look- 
ing on at them. And that faculty is the most incomprehen- 
sible to those who do not possess it, and who attribute its 
effects to some personal motive, or interested calculation. 
They suspect intrigue or resentment every time that they 
observe a movement in any direction, but they have no idea 
of the spontaneous and gratuitous action of the mind. Every- 
one has been exposed to mistrust of this kind, which is more 
to be dreaded when a woman, endowed with excessive ac- 
tivity of imagination, and drawn on by her intelligence to 
form opinions on matters out of her sphere, is in question. 
Many persons, especially in that somewhat coarse society, 
would detect egotism and pretension in her life and conver- 
sation, and accuse her unduly of ambition. 

That her husband was entirely devoid of ambition, and 
free from any disposition to intrigue, was evident to all. 
The position in which the favor of the First Consul had 
placed him did not suit him ; he would, no doubt, have pre- 
ferred some laborious administrative function to one which 
demanded nothing of him but suavity and a graceful de- 
meanor. From the " Memoirs," from his own letters, and 
from my father's account of him, we gather that M. de 
Ke*musat was a man of discreet conduct, with keen wits, and 
a cheerful and even temper not at all a person calculated 
to make enemies. Indeed, he would never have had any, 
but for a certain shyness, which, little as it seems to harmo- 


nize with conversational powers and an agreeable manner, is, 
nevertheless, occasionally allied with them. His taste for 
quiet life, and some indolence and timidity of character, had 
impelled him more and more toward retirement and isola- 
tion. Modesty and self-esteem mingled in his nature ; and, 
without rendering him insensible to the honors of the post 
which he had obtained, they sometimes made him ashamed 
of the solemn trifles to which that very post forced him to 
devote his life. He believed himself to be made for better 
things, but he did not care for toiling in search of that which 
did not come to him of itself. He took but little pleasure 
in expressing the art, in which he was probably not deficient, 
of managing men. He did not love to put himself forward, 
and his indolent temperament induced him to let things take 
their chance. He afterward became a hard-working prefect, 
but he was a negligent and inactive courtier. He employed 
his skill simply to avoid disputes, and he discharged his offi- 
cial functions with quiet good taste. After having had many 
friends, and entered into numerous relations, he let them 
drop through, or at least he never seemed to do anything to 
retain them. Unless great care be taken, ties are loosened, 
recollections are effaced, rivalries are formed, and all the 
chances of ambition escape one's grasp. M. de Kemusat had 
no skill in playing a part, forming connections, bringing 
people together, or contriving the opportunities of fortune 
or success. He seems never to have regretted this. It 
would be easy for me to trace his motives to depict his 
character in detail, and to narrate his errors, his grievances, 
and even his sufferings ; for was he not my grandfather ? 

The first severe trial which M. and Mme. de Eemusat 
had to endure in their new position was the murder of the 
Due d'Enghien. How profound was the grief which they 
felt when the man whom they ardently admired, as the ex- 
press image of power and genius, and whom they strove to 
love, stained his hands with innocent blood, and they were 
forced to recognize that such a deed was simply the result of 


a cold and inhuman calculation, the following narrative will 
prove. It will, indeed, be seen that the impression made 
by the crime upon all honest persons at the Court was even 
deeper than that which it produced outside among the gen- 
eral public, who had become almost indifferent, through cus- 
tom, to deeds of this kind. Even among the Royalists, who 
were absolutely inimical to the Government, the event caused 
more sorrow than indignation, so perverted had the public 
mind become in political matters and respecting State ex- 
pedients ! Where could the men of that day have acquired 
principles ? Was it the old regime or the Terror which could 
have instructed them ? A short time afterward, the Sover- 
eign Pontiff came to Paris, and, among the reasons which 
made him hesitate to crown the new Charlemagne, it is very 
doubtful whether this one was ever even weighed for a mo- 
ment. The press was dumb, and men must be possessed of 
information before they are aroused to anger. Let us hope 
that civilization has now made so much progress that a 
repetition of similar incidents would be impossible. We 
should, however, be restrained from optimism on this point 
by the remembrance of what we have witnessed in our own 

The following Memoirs are an exact record of the life of 
the author, and the history of the early years of the present 
century. They show us what changes the establishment of 
the Empire effected at the Court, and how lif e there and its 
relations became more difficult and embarrassing; how by 
degrees the prestige of the Emperor declined, in proportion 
as he misused his great gifts, his power, and his chances. 
Mistakes, reverses, and failures were multiplied ; and at the 
same time the adhesion of the earliest admirers of the Em- 
peror became less fervent, and the manner of serving re- 
flected the mode of thinking. Two parties, the Beauhar- 
nais and the Bonapartes, disputed the favor of the sovereign 
master with each other ; and M. and Mme. de Remusat were 
regarded as belonging to the former, by reason of their natu- 

xxii PREFACE. 

ral feelings and their family relations. Their position was 
consequently affected in no small degree by the downfall and 
departure of the Empress Josephine. Everything was, how- 
ever, much changed, and, when her lady-in-waiting followed 
her into her retirement, the Emperor seems to have made 
but little effort to detain Mme. de Remusat. Perhaps he 
was glad that a person of good sense and quick intelligence 
should watch over his forsaken and somewhat imprudent 
wife ; but it must also be taken into account that my grand- 
mother's delicate health, her love of quiet, and her distaste 
for all festivities, had isolated her almost entirely from court 

Her husband, wearied and disgusted, gave way every day 
more and more to his discontent, and to his inability to lay 
himself out to please the great personages who were either 
cold or hostile to him. He neglected his functions as Cham- 
berlain in order to concentrate himself on his duties as " Ad- 
ministrator of Theatres," but the latter he fulfilled admirably. 
A great part of the actual organization of the Theatre Fran- 
$ais is due to him. My father, born in 1797, and very young 
when his father was Chamberlain to the Emperor, was re- 
markable as a child for his intelligence and his observation, 
and he retained a very distinct recollection of that period of 
discouragement and ennui. He has told me that he frequent- 
ly knew his father to return from Saint Cloud utterly worn 
out, and tried beyond his patience by the burden which the 
arbitrariness and the ill temper of the Emperor laid upon all 
who approached him. That the child was an eye- and ear- 
witness of his complaints at those moments in which re- 
straints are cast off is evident, for, when he was more master 
of himself, he was fain to represent himself as satisfied with 
his master and his position, and he endeavored to conceal his 
vexations from his son. Perhaps he was better calculated to 
serve the simple, tranquil, sober, intellectual Bonaparte, while 
still a novice in the pleasures of sovereignty, than the llase 
and intoxicated Napoleon, who exhibited the worst taste 


possible on all State occasions, and became more exacting 
every day in the matter of ceremonial and adulatory observ- 

An apparently trifling circumstance, whose gravity was 
not at first perceived by those whom it concerned, increased 
the difficulties of the situation, and hurried on the inevitable 
catastrophe. Although the history of the affair is insignifi- 
cant, it will not be read without interest, and it sheds a light 
upon times now happily far removed from us, and which 
Frenchmen, if the lessons of the past are to avail, will not 
suffer to return. 

The celebrated Lavoisier was very intimate with M. de 
Yergennes. He died, as every one knows, on the scaffold on 
the 19th Floreal, year 2 (9th May, 1794). His widow, who 
contracted a second marriage with M. Rumford, a German 
savant, or at least a commercial man aiming at science for 
he was the inventor of the Prussian stoves, and also of the 
thermometer that bears his name remained on terms of 
close friendship with Madame de Yergennes and her family. 
This second marriage had not been happy, and compassion 
was, very justly, excited on behalf of the ill-treated wife, who 
was compelled to invoke the protection of the law against 
unendurable tyranny and exaction. As M. Rumford was a 
foreigner, it was in the power of the police to procure infor- 
mation respecting him from his own country, to reprimand 
him severely, and even to oblige him to leave France. This, 
I believe, was eventually done, and it was at the request of 
my grandmother that M. de Talleyrand and M. Fouche took 
up the matter. Madame Eumford was anxious to evince 
her gratitude to those personages, and the following is my 
father's account of the results of her wish : 

"My mother consented to invite Madame Rumford to 
dinner, to meet M. de Talleyrand and M. Fouche. Surely, 
it was not an act of opposition to entertain the High Cham- 
berlain and the Minister of Police at her table ! Neverthe- 
less, that meeting so naturally brought about, the motive of 

xxiv PREFACE. 

which, was as insignificant as it was harmless, but which was, 
I acknowledge, unusual, and never occurred again was rep- 
resented to the Emperor, in the reports that were sent out to 
him in Spain, as a political conference, and the proof of an 
important coalition. Although I do not contend that it was 
impossible for M. de Talleyrand and M. Fouche to have 
taken advantage of the opportunity of talking together ; or 
deny that my mother, perceiving the respective inclinations 
of the two, or put upon the scent by something that was said 
by M. de Talleyrand, might have regarded the occasion as a 
favorable one for bringing about an interview which amused 
herself at the same time that it was useful to one of her 
friends, I have not the slightest reason for supposing that 
such was the case. I am, on the contrary, perfectly certain 
of having heard my father and mother quote this incident, 
when reverting to it some years afterward, as an instance of 
the unexpected importance which may be assumed by a for- 
tuitous and insignificant matter, and say, smilingly, that Ma- 
dame Rumford little knew what she had cost them. 

" They added that on that occasion the word i triumvirate ' 
had been uttered, and my mother had said, laughingly, 4 My 
dear, I am sorry for it ; but your lot could only be that of 
Lepidus.' My father also said that certain persons of the 
Court, not enemies of his, had sometimes spoken of ' the 
Conference ' to him as a fact, and had said, though with- 
out any hostile intention, E"ow that it is all over, tell 
us what it was about, and what it was you really meant 
to do?'" 

This narrative gives us an insight into the life of Courts, 
and also testifies to the intimacy of my grandparents with 
M. de Talleyrand. Although the former Bishop of Autun 
does not seem to have been actuated in this particular in- 
stance by that kind of feeling which he habitually carried 
into his relations with women, he both liked and admired 
Mme. de Remusat. I have found amusing evidence of his 
sentiments in a sketch of her which he wrote, on the official 


paper of the Senate, during the leisure time of a sitting at 
which he presided as "Vice-Grand Elector," probably in 

" LUXEMBOURG, April 29th. } 

" I have a fancy for commencing the portrait of Clari. 
She is not what the world calls a beauty, but every one 
agrees in pronouncing her an agreeable woman. She is 
twenty-eight or twenty-nine years old, and she is neither 
more nor less blooming than she ought to be at twenty-eight. 
Her figure is good, her carriage is graceful and unaffected. 
Clari is not thin ; she is only slight and refined. Her com- 
plexion is not brilliant, but she has the special charm of look- 
ing fairer in proportion as she is in a stronger light. To de- 
scribe Clari in a sentence, let me say that the better she is 
known the more amiable she appears. 

" Clari has large, black eyes ; their long lids give an ex- 
pression of mingled tenderness and vivacity which is striking, 
even when her mind is inactive and she does not want to 
express anything. Those occasions are, however, very rare. 
Lively ideas, quick perception, a vivid imagination, exquisite 
sensibility, and constant kindness are expressed in her glance. 
To give an idea of that, it would be necessary to paint the 
soul which depicts itself in it, and then Clari would be the 
most beautiful of beings. I am not sufficiently well versed 
in the rales of drawing to know whether Clari' s features are 
quite regular. I believe her nose is too thick ; but I know 
that she has beautiful eyes, lips, and teeth. A great part of 
her forehead is generally hidden by her hair, and that is a 
pity. Her smile is rendered as arch as it is sweet by her two 
dimples. Her dress is often careless, but never in bad taste, 
and she is scrupulously neat. That neatness forms part of 
the system of order and decorum from which Clari never 
deviates. Clari is not rich, but as she is moderate in her 
tastes and above caprice and fancy, she despises extravagance, 
and has never perceived that her fortune is limited, except 

xxvi PREFACE. 

when she has been obliged to restrain her benevolence. But, 
besides the art of giving, she has a thousand other ways of 
conferring kindnesses. Always ready to commend good 
deeds and to excuse faults, her mind is always bent on 
beneficent purposes. Clari affords us a striking proof of 
how much superior a kindly wit is to talent which produces 
only severity, criticism, and satire. She is more ingenious 
in her manner of passing favorable judgments than ever was 
malignity in the art of suggesting the false and suppressing 
the true. 

" Clari always vindicates those whose part she takes, but 
without offending those whom she confutes. Clari has a 
large and cultivated mind. I know no one who can talk 
better than she ; but she exhibits her superior information 
only when she is giving one a proof of her confidence and 
friendship. Clari's husband knows that he possesses a trea- 
sure, and has the good sense to appreciate it. Clari is a good 
mother ; that is her reward." 

The Emperor was displeased at the intimacy between the 
Grand Chamberlain and the First Chamberlain, and these 
Memoirs will show that he tried more than once to set the 
two at variance. He even succeeded for a time in alienating 
them. But their intimacy was unbroken when M. Talley- 
rand fell into disgrace. 

It is well known that honorable motives on his part led 
to a violent altercation between himself and his imperial 
master in January, 1809, at the period of the Spanish war, 
which was the beginning of the misfortunes of the empire, 
and the result of the Emperor's errors. Both M. de Talley- 
rand and M. Fouche predicted, or at least foreboded, that 
public disapprobation and suspicion would be aroused. 
"Throughout the whole empire," writes M. Thiers,* "hate 
was beginning to take the place of love." This change was 
taking place among officials as well as citizens. Moreover, 
M. de Montesquiou, a member of the Legislature, who suc- 
* "Histoire du Consulat et de 1'Empire," vol. xi., p. 312. 

PREFACE. xxvii 

ceeded M. de Talleyrand in his place at court, was a less 
important personage than the latter, who had relegated to 
the First Chamberlain not only the troublesome portions of 
the duties of his post, but also those which were agreeable, 
and which conferred distinction. It was a " come-down " to 
lose a chief whose own importance enhanced that of the 
position next below him. Truly this was a strange time ! 

Talleyrand, though in disgrace as a minister, and as the 
holder of one of the highest posts at Court, had not forfeited 
the Emperor's confidence. The latter would send for him 
every now and then, and freely disclose the secret of the 
question or the circumstance on which he desired his advice. 
These consultations went on to the end, even at those times 
when the Emperor was talking of sending M. de Talleyrand 
to Yincennes. In return, M. de Talleyrand would enter into 
his views, and advise him with perfect frankness ; and so 
this strange intercourse was carried on as if nothing had 
happened between them. 

State policy and the greatness of his own position afford- 
ed certain privileges and consolations to M. de Talleyrand 
which were beyond the reach of a chamberlain or a lady-in- 
waiting. Those who are in close contact with absolute power 
do not foresee that the day must come when their feelings 
will clash with their interests, and some of their duties with 
others. They forget that there are principles of government 
which must be guarded by constitutional guarantees. They 
yield to the natural desire to be " somebodies " in the state, 
to serve the established authority; they do not study the 
nature and conditions of that authority. So long as it exacts 
nothing against their conscience, they serve it in the sphere 
to which it has appointed them. But the hour comes when, 
without exacting anything new from them, it carries extrava- 
gance, violence, and injustice to such a height that it becomes 
hard to obey it, even in things of no moment ; they remain, 
nevertheless, bound to obedience, while in their inmost soul 
they are full of indignation and of pain. Then comes actual 

xxviii PREFACE. 

desire for its fall. It may be said that their course is simple ; 
let them resign. But they are afraid of giving rise to rumor 
and scandal, of being neither understood nor approved by 
public opinion. Moreover, no contract binds the servants of 
the state to the conduct of the chief of the state. Having 
no rights, they would seem to have no duties. They are 
powerless for prevention, and are, therefore, not afraid of 
having to expiate errors. Thus people thought in the reign 
of Louis XIV., and thus they still think in a great part of 
Europe ; it was thus they thought under Napoleon, and per- 
haps they will be of the same opinion again. So shameful 
and wretched a thing is absolute power ! It paralyzes both 
the honest scruples and the real duties of honest men. 


Traces of these convictions, or at least of their germ, may 
be discerned in the correspondence of M. and Madame de 
Hemusat, and all things contributed to confirm them. Direct 
communication with the Emperor became more and more 
infrequent, and his charm of manner, though still powerful, 
failed to weaken the impression made by his policy. The 
divorce of the Empress restored to Madame de Remusat, in 
great part, her freedom of judgment and the disposal of her 
time. She attached herself to the Empress Josephine in her 
disgrace, a proceeding not calculated to raise her in the esti- 
mation of the Court. Her husband soon after retired from 
the post of Keeper of the "Wardrobe, under circumstances 
which are detailed in these Memoirs, and the coolness in- 
creased. I use the word " coolness " advisedly, because in 
certain pamphlets written against my father it was alleged 
that his family had been guilty of grave offenses, at which 
the Emperor was much incensed. That this was quite 
untrue is amply proved by the fact that although M. de 
Ke'musat resigned the post of Keeper of the Wardrobe, he 
continued to be Chamberlain and Supervisor of Theatres. 

PREFACE. xxix 

He merely gave up the most troublesome and most onerous 
of his offices. Xo doubt those habits of intimacy and con- 
fidence which arise in common every-day life were weak- 
ened by his relinquishment of that post ; but, on the other 
hand, he gained greater freedom and more frequent inter- 
course, both with his family and with society, and, as they 
were no longer restricted to the drawing-rooms of the Tuile- 
ries and St. Cloud, both husband and wife were enabled to 
bring more clear-sightedness and independence of judgment 
to bear upon the policy of their sovereign. Before the final 
disasters, aided by the advice and predictions of M. de Tal- 
leyrand, they foresaw the fall of the Empire, and were ena- 
bled to choose between the possible solutions of the problem 
then in course of working out. There was no hope that the 
Emperor would be satisfied with a peace more humiliating to 
himself than to France, and indeed Europe was no longer in 
the humor to gratify him even to that extent. 

The public mind turned naturally toward the return of 
the Bourbons, notwithstanding certain drawbacks, which 
were but dimly apprehended. The salons of Paris, without 
being actually Royalist, were anti-revolutionary. At this 
epoch the plan of making the Bonapartes heads of the Con- 
servative and Catholic party had not yet been invented. 
To bring back the Bourbons was a very momentous reso- 
lution, and it was not adopted without struggles, anx- 
ieties, and apprehensions of all sorts. My father regarded 
the painful recollection which he always retained of the at- 
titude of his family in 1814 a family so simple, so honor- 
able, and so unpretending as a useful political lesson, one 
which contributed, as much as his own reflections, to lead 
him to believe that simplicity and straightforwardness are 
the truest policy. He records in the following words his 
own observations on the state of feeling that prevailed at 
the fall of the Empire : 

" Policy alone reconciled my family to the Restoration. 
My father never for a moment regarded his own acquiescence 


otherwise than as an absolute necessity, of which he volun- 
tarily accepted the consequences. It would have been foolish 
to conceal the nature of those consequences, or to have en- 
deavored to avoid them altogether; but they might have 
been more firmly resisted, or at least some effort might have 
been made to reduce their proportions. My mother, as a 
woman, was influenced by the sentimental aspect of Bour- 
bonism, and allowed herself to be carried away by the en- 
thusiasm of the moment. In every great political movement 
there is a fascination, unless one is preserved from it by party 
spirit ; and this sympathy, combined with the national taste 
for declamation, has a large share in the absurdities which 
accompany every change of government. My mother was, 
however, disgusted from the first by the exaggeration of sen- 
timent, of opinion, and of ridiculous language, that prevailed. 
The humiliating and insolent side of the Restoration, as in- 
deed of every restoration, is what shocks me the most ; but, 
if the Royalists had not gone too far, a great deal would have 
been overlooked. The things of this kind which sensible 
folk will endure are surprising. I still feel grateful to my 
father because, in the very first days of the Monarchy, he 
somewhat sharply rebuked a person who was advocating in 
our salon the extreme doctrines of Legitimacy. Neverthe- 
less, we had to accept this Legitimacy under a more politic 
form. The word itself was, I -believe, sanctioned by M. de 
Talleyrand, and thence ensued an inevitable train of conse- 
quences which speedily developed themselves." 

This is not merely an historical judgment of my father's ; 
at that time he was beginning, notwithstanding his youth, 
to think for himself, and to guide, or at least to influence, the 
political opinions of his parents. As I shall soon be in a 
position to publish the reminiscences of his youth, I will not 
dwell upon them here. I must, however, mention him in 
connection with the memoirs of his mother, as he had more 
to do with them than might be supposed. 

I have not hitherto alluded to one of the most character- 


istic traits of her whose life I have undertaken to narrate. 
She was a tender, careful, and admirable mother. Her son 
Charles, born on the 24th Yentose, year 5 (March 14, 1797), 
cheered her from his childhood with the hopes which he af- 
terward realized, and, as he grew in years and intelligence, 
aroused in her intellectual tastes similar to his own. Her 
second son, Albert, was born five years later than Charles, 
and died in 1830. His faculties were never completely de- 
veloped ; he remained a child until the end. She had tender 
compassion for him, and lavished upon him care so unceasing 
and devoted that it was admirable even in a mother. But 
her great love was for her first-born, and never was filial or 
maternal affection founded on more striking resemblance in 
mind and character. Her letters are full of her maternal 
tenderness. The following is addressed to her beloved son, 
when he was just sixteen. I think it will convey a favorable 
impression of both, and throw a light on the history of their 
after lives : 

VICHY, July 25, 1813. 

" I have been suffering from a severe sore throat for the 
last few days, and time has hung heavily, my child ; to-day 
I feel a little better, and I am going to amuse myself by 
writing to you. Besides, you have been scolding me for my 
silence, and reproaching me too often with your four letters. 
I will no longer be behindhand with you, and this letter, I 
think, will entitle me to scold you in my turn, if an oppor- 
tunity offers. My dear boy, I follow you step by step in all 
your studies, and I see you are full of work during this 
month of July, which I am passing so monotonously. I 
know pretty well, too, all you say and do on Thursdays and 
Sundays. Madame de Grasse * tells me of your little talks, 
and amuses me with it all. For instance, she told me that 

* Madame de Grasse was the widow of an emigre, who lived in my grand- 
mother's house and was very intimate with her. Her son, Count Gustave de 
Grasse, was a lieutenant-colonel in the Royal Guard, and lived on terms of the 

xxxii PREFACE. 

the other day you had praised me to her, and said that when 
you and I talk together you are sometimes tempted to think 
me too clever. But you need not be checked by any fear of 
that, for you, my dear child, have at least as much wit as I. 
I tell you so frankly, because that gift, although an advan- 
tage, needs many other things to support it, and therefore 
you may take my words rather as warning than as praise. 
If my conversation with you often takes a serious turn, you 
must impute it to the fact that I am your mother, and have 
not relinquished that rdle to my discovery of some wise 
thoughts in my own head, and wanting to put them into 
yours ; and to my desire to make good use of the quickly 
passing time that will soon bear you far from me. When I 
need no longer advise and warn you, we shall talk together 
quite at our ease, interchanging our reflections, our remarks, 
and our opinions on everything and everybody quite frankly, 
without fear of vexing one another ; in fact, with all that 
sincere and intimate friendship which, I believe, may per- 
fectly well exist between a mother and a son. There are 
not so many years between us as to prevent me from sym- 
pathizing with your youth, or sharing some of your feelings. 
Women's shoulders wear young heads for a long time, and 
in the head of a mother one side is always just the same age 
as her child's. 

" Madame de Grasse told me also that you want to amuse 
yourself during these holidays by writing some of your no- 
tions on various subjects. I think you are right. It will be 
interesting for you to read them again in a few years. Your 
father would say I want to make you a scribbler like myself 
for he does not stand on ceremony with me but I do not 
care. There can be no harm in setting down one's thoughts 
in writing for one's self alone, and I think both taste and 
style may be formed in this way. It is just because your 
father is lazy, and only writes one letter a week ; true, it is 

closest friendship with my father until his death in 1859, notwithstanding the 
wide dissimilarity of their opinions and habits. 



a very pleasant one, but still that is not much. . . . But 
there ! I must not run on about him. 

" During my retirement I thought I should like to draw 
your portrait, and if I had not had a sore throat, I would 
have tried to do so. While I was thinking it over, I found 
that in order not to be insipid, and, indeed, to be correct, I 
should have to point out a few faults, and I do believe the 
hard words have stuck in my throat and given me quinsy. 
While planning this portrait, I assure you I took you to 
pieces very carefully, and I found many good qualities well 
developed, a few just beginning to bud, and then some 
slight congestions which hinder certain others from exhibit- 
ing themselves. I beg your pardon for using a medical ex- 
pression ; it is because I am in a place where nothing but 
congestions and the way to get rid of them is talked about. 
I will explain all this some day when I am in the vein, but 
to-day I will touch only on one point your behavior to 
others. You are polite more so, indeed, than is customary 
at your age : you have a pleasant manner in addressing 
people, and you are a good listener. Do not let this last quali- 
ty slip. Madame de Sevigne* says that an appreciative silence 
is a mark of superior sense in young people. < But, mother, 
what are you driving at ? You promised to point out a fault, 
and hitherto I see nothing like one. A father's blow turns 
aside. Let us come to the fact, my dear mother.' So I will, 
my son, in one moment ; you forget that I have a sore throat, 
and can only speak slowly. Well, then, you are polite. When 
you are asked to do something which will gratify those you 
love, you consent willingly ; but, when an opportunity of so 
doing is merely pointed out to you, natural indolence and a 
certain love of self make you hesitate ; and, when left to 
yourself, you do not seek such opportunities, for fear of the 
trouble they might entail. Can you understand these subtile 
distinctions ? While you are still partly under my authority, 
I can influence and guide you : but you will soon have to 
answer for yourself, and I should wish you to think a little 

xxxiv PREFACE. 

about other people, notwithstanding the claims of your own 
youth, which are naturally engrossing. I am not sure that 
I have expressed myself clearly. As my ideas have to find 
their way through a headache and all my bandages, and for 
the last four days I have not sharpened my wits by contact 
with those of Albert, the quinsy may possibly have got into 
my discourse. 

" You must make the best of it. At any rate, it is a fact 
that you have polished manners, in other words, you are kind. 
Kindness is the politeness of the heart. But enough. 

" Your little brother makes a good figure at the village 
dances. He has become quite a rustic. In the morning he 
fishes and takes long walks about the country. He under- 
stands more about trees and agriculture than you do. In the 
evening he shines among our big Auvergne shepherdesses, to 
whom he shows off all those little airs and graces which you 
know so well. 

" Adieu, my dear son ; I leave off because I have come 
to the end of my paper. "Writing all this to you relieves me 
a little of my ennui, but I must not quite overwhelm you by 
pouring out too much at a time. My respects to Griffon, 
and best compliments to M. Leclerc." * 

In this confidential strain the mother and the son carried 
on their correspondence. One year later, in 1814, the son 
left school, destined to fulfill all the promise of his childhood, 
and to hold thenceforth a more important place in the life 
and occupations of his parents. His influence soon began to 
tell on theirs, the more so that there existed no absolute di- 
vergence in their opinions. But he was more positive and 
bolder than his parents, because he was not fettered by the 
ties of old memories and old affection. He felt no regret for 
the Emperor, and, although deeply moved by the sufferings 

* Griffon was a little dog. M. Leclerc was a member of the Institute and 
Dean of the Faculty of Letters. He died a few years ago. At that time he was 
a professor at the LycSe Napoleon, and gave lessons to my father. 


of the French army, lie witnessed the fall of the Empire, if 
not with joy, at least with indifference. To him, as to most 
talented young men of his time, it came as an emancipation. 
He eagerly embraced the first notions of constitutional order, 
which made their reappearance with the Bourbons. But he 
was struck by the ridiculous side of Royalist society. Many 
of the revived fashions and phrases * seemed to him to be 
mere foolery ; he was disgusted by the abuse lavished upon 
the Emperor and the men of the Empire, but neither his 
parents nor he, although still a little suspicious of the new 
order of things, was seriously opposed to it. Neither the 
personal vexations which resulted from it, such as the depri- 
vation of employment, the necessity of selling to great disad- 
vantage a library which was the delight of my grandfather, 
and which lives in the recollection of lovers of books, nor a 
thousand other annoyances, could prevent their experiencing 
a sense of relief. They almost verified a celebrated saying 
of the Emperor, who, when at the zenith of his power, once 
asked those surrounding him what would be said after his 
death. They all hastened to answer in phrases of compli- 
ment or of flattery. But he interrupted them by exclaiming, 
" "What ! you are at a loss to know what people will say ? 
They will say <Ouf !'" 


It was difficult to attend to personal interests in those 
days ; one could hardly help being diverted from them, and 
engrossed solely by the spectacle of France and Europe. 
Curiosity would naturally outweigh ambition in a family 
such as we are depicting. My grandfather did nevertheless 
think of entering the administration, and once more revived 
his project, hitherto doomed to disappointment, of gaining 
admittance to the Council of State; but he was as supine 
about it as before. Had he entered the administration, he 
would only have been following the example of the majority 
* For a note by Count de Remusat, Bee Appendix. 

xxxvi PREFACE. 

of the former officials of the Empire, for the Bonapartist Op- 
position did not come into existence until the latter days of 
the Monarchy. The members of the Imperial family lived 
in constant and friendly intercourse with the new regime, or 
rather the reinstated old regime. The Empress Josephine 
was treated with great respect, and the Emperor Alexander 
frequently visited her at Malmaison. She wished to take up 
a dignified and fitting position, and she confided to her lady- 
in-waiting that she thought of asking the title of High Con- 
stable for her son Eugene, showing thereby that she scarcely 
understood the spirit of the Restoration. Queen Hortense, 
who afterward became the bitter enemy of the Bourbons, 
and was concerned in numerous conspiracies, obtained the 
Duchy of Saint Leu, for which she intended to return thanks 
in person to Louis XYIII. All projects of this kind had, 
however, to be abandoned ; for the Empress Josephine was 
suddenly carried off by malignant sore throat in March, 1814, 
and the last link that bound my kinsfolk to the Bonaparte 
family was sundered for ever. 

The Bourbons seemed to make a point of annoying and 
depressing those very persons whom their Government 
should have endeavored to conciliate, and by slow degrees 
a belief gained ground that their reign would be of short 
duration, and that France, just then more in love with equal- 
ity than with liberty, would demand to be placed once more 
under the yoke which had seemed to be shattered ; in fact, 
that the days of Imperial splendor and misery would return. 
It was, therefore, with less amazement than might be sup- 
posed that my grandfather learned one day from a friend 
that the Emperor had escaped from Elba and landed at 
Cannes. Historical events seem more astounding to those 
who read of them than to eye-witnesses. Those who knew 
Bonaparte could readily believe him capable of again putting 
France and Frenchmen in peril for the sake of a selfish 
scheme. His return was, however, a tremendous event, and 
every one had to think not only of the political future, but 


xxx vii 

also of his own. Even those who, like M. de Remusat, had 
not publicly taken any political side, and who only wanted 
to be left in repose and obscurity, had everything to lose, 
and were bound to provide against eventualities. The gen- 
eral suspense did not last long ; even before the Emperor's 
entry into Paris, M. Real came to announce to M. de Remu- 
sat that he was sentenced to exile together with twelve or fif- 
teen others, among whom was M. Pasquier. 

An event still more serious than exile, and which left a 
deeper trace in my father's memory, occurred between the 
first news of the return of Napoleon and his arrival at the 
Tuileries. On the day after that on which the landing was 
publicly announced, Mme. de Nansouty hurried to her sister's 
house, full of dismay at all that she had been told of the per- 
secution to which the opponents of the vindictive and all- 
powerful Emperor were about to be exposed. She told my 
grandparents that a rigorous inquisition by the police was 
to be put in action ; that M. Pasquier apprehended molesta- 
tion, and that everything in the house which could give rise 
to suspicion must be got rid of. My grandmother, who 
might not otherwise have thought of danger, remembered 
with alarm that a manuscript highly calculated to com- 
promise her husband, her sister, her brother-in-law, and her 
friends, was in the house. For many years, probably from 
her first appearance at Court, she had been in the habit 
of taking notes daily of the events and conversations which 
came under her notice, while her memory of them was fresh. 
She had recorded nearly everything she saw and heard, at 
Paris, at St. Cloud, and at Malmaison. For twelve years she 
had transferred, not only events and circumstances, but 
studies of character and disposition, to the pages of her jour- 
nal. This journal was kept in the form of a correspondence. 
It consisted of a series of letters, written from Court to a 
friend from whom nothing was concealed. The author well 
knew all the value of these fictitious letters, which recalled 
her whole life, with its most precious and most painful 

xxxviii PREFACE. 

recollections. Ought she to risk, for what would appear to 
others only literary or sentimental selfishness, the peace, the 
liberty, nay, even the life of those she loved ? No one was 
aware of the existence of this manuscript, except her hus- 
band and Mme. Cheron, the wife of the Prefect of that 
name, a very old and attached friend. Her thoughts turned 
to this lady, who had once before taken charge of the dan- 
gerous manuscript, and she hastened to seek her. Unfor- 
tunately Mme. Che'ron was from home, and not likely to 
return for a considerable time. What was to be done ? My 
grandmother came back, greatly distressed, and, without 
further reflection or delay, threw her manuscripts into the 
fire. My father came into the room just as she was burn- 
ing the last sheets, somewhat cautiously, lest the flame should 
reach too high. He was then seventeen, and has often de- 
scribed the scene to me the remembrance of it was most 
painful to him. He thought at first .that his mother was 
merely destroying a copy of the memoirs, which he had 
never read, and that the precious original manuscript was 
safely concealed. He threw the last sheets into the fire with 
his own hand, attaching but little importance to the action. 
" Few deeds," he used to say, " after I learned all the truth, 
have I ever so bitterly regretted." 

From the very first, the author and her son so deeply 
lamented what they had done for they learned almost im- 
mediately that the sacrifice was uncalled for that for years 
they could not speak of it between themselves or to my 
grandfather. The latter bore his exile with much philosophy. 
He was not forbidden to dwell in France, but only in Paris 
and its neighborhood, and it was decided that they should all 
await the passing of the storm in Languedoc, where he pos- 
sessed an estate which he had bought back from the heirs of 
M. de Bastard, his wife's grandfather, and which had long 
been neglected. The family removed, therefore, to Laffitte, 
where my father afterward passed so many years, now in the 
midst of political agitation, again in quiet study. In after 


days he again came thither from exile ; for the sufferings of 
good citizens from absolute power were not to be restricted 
to the year 1815, and Napoleons have returned to France 
from a greater distance than the Isle of Elba. 

My grandfather started for Laffitte on March 13th, and 
his family joined him there a few days afterward. At Laf- 
fitte they passed the three months of that reign, shorter but 
still more fatal than the first, which has been called " The 
Hundred Days." There my father entered upon his literary 
career, not as yet producing original works, but translating 
Pope, Cicero, and Tacitus. His only original writings were 
his songs. The family lived quietly, unitedly, and almost 
happily, waiting the end of a tragedy of which they foresaw 
the denoument, and at Laffitte they received the news of 
Waterloo. They heard at the same time of the abdication of 
Napoleon, and that M. de Eemusat was appointed Prefect 
of Haute-Garonne, by a decree of July 12, 1815. This ap- 
pointment was quite to the taste of my grandfather, for it 
placed him once more in office, without involving him in the 
parade of a court ; but it was less pleasing to his wife, who 
regretted Paris and her old friends there, and who dreaded 
the disturbances at Toulouse, at that time a prey to the vio- 
lence of southern Eoyalism " the White Terror," as it was 
then called. 

The new Prefect immediately set out for Toulouse, and 
was greeted on his arrival with the news that General Kamel, 
notwithstanding that he had hoisted the white flag on the 
Capitol, had been assassinated. Such are the injustice and 
violence of party spirit, even when victorious; nay, espe- 
cially when victorious ! 

But, however interesting this episode of our national 
troubles may be, it is not necessary to dwell on them here. 
The principal personage in these Memoirs is not the Prefect, 
but Mme. de Remusat. My grandmother, anxious about 
the course of events, and perhaps afraid of the vehemence 
of her son's opinions, which were little suited to his father's 


official position, sent him back to Paris, to his great satis- 

Then ensued a correspondence between them which will 
make both of them known to us, and will perhaps depict the 
writer of these Memoirs more clearly than do the Memoirs 

As, however, the latter work only is in question at pres- 
ent, it is not necessary to give in detail the history of the 
period subsequent to 1815. The administration of the de- 
partment, which commenced under such gloomy auspices, 
was, for a period of nineteen months, extremely difficult. 
While the son, mixing in very Liberal society in Paris, 
adopted the opinions of advanced constitutional Royalism, 
which did little more than tolerate the Bourbons, the father, 
amid totally different surroundings, underwent a similar men- 
tal process, and placed himself by word and deed in the front 
rank of those officials of the King's Government who were 
the least Eoyalist and the most Liberal. He was a just and 
moderate man, a lover of law, neither an aristocrat nor a 
bigot. The people of Toulouse were all that he was not ; 
nevertheless he was successful there, and left behind him a 
kindly memory, which lapsed as the men of his time disap- 
peared, but of which my father has more than once found 
traces. These early days of constitutional liberty, even in a 
province which did not afterward put its theories boldly in 
practice, are curious to contemplate. 

The light of that liberty illumined all that the Empire 
had left in darkness. Opinions, ideas, hatred, passions, came 
to life. The Government of the Bourbons was represented 
by a married priest, M. de Talleyrand, and a regicide Jaco- 
bin, M. Fouche ; but even they could not oppose the reac- 
tionary tendency of the time, and the Liberal policy did not 
triumph until the accession of MM. Decazes, Pasquier, Mole, 
and Koyer-Collard to the ministry, and the passing of the 
famous decree of the 5th of September. The new policy 
was of course advantageous to those who had practiced it be- 

PREFACE. x li 

forehand, and there could be no ill will toward the Prefect 
on account of the failure of the Liberal party in the elec- 
tions of Haute-Garonne. So soon as the ministry was firm- 
ly established, and as M. Laine had succeeded M. de Yau- 
blanc, my grandfather was appointed Prefect of Lille. My 
father records in a letter already quoted the effect of these 
events on the mind of Mme. de Remusat : 

" The nomination of my father to Lille brought my mo- 
ther back into the midst of the great stir of public opinion, 
which was soon to declare itself as it had not done since 1789. 
Her intelligence, her reason, all her feelings and all her con- 
victions, were about to make a great step in advance. The 
Empire, after awakening her interest in public affairs and 
enabling her to understand them, subsequently directed her 
mind toward a high moral aim, by inspiring her with a hor- 
ror of tyranny. Hence came her desire for a government 
of order, founded on law, reason, and the spirit of the na- 
tion ; hence a certain leaning toward the forms of the Eng- 
lish constitution. Her stay at Toulouse and the reaction of 
1815 gave her such a knowledge of social realities as nhe 
could never have acquired in the salwis of Paris, enlighten- 
ing her as to the results and the causes of the Revolution, 
and the needs and sentiments of the nation. She under- 
stood, in a general way, on which side lay true help, strength, 
life, and right. She learned that a new France had been 
called into existence, and what it was, and that it was for 
and by this new France that government must be carried 


My grandmother's stay at Lille was occasionally varied 
by visits to her son in Paris. The pleasures of society were 
but a prelude to the literary success that he achieved a few 
months later ; and indeed he was already practicing compo- 
sition in his frequent letters to his mother on politics and 
literature. Mme. de Remusat had more leisure at Lille than 

xlii PREFACE. 

in Paris, and, although her health was still delicate, she in- 
dulged her taste for intellectual pursuits. Hitherto she had 
written nothing but the Memoirs that she had afterward de- 
stroyed, and a few short tales and essays. In the leisure of 
a country life she now attempted a romance in the form 
of letters, called " Les Lettres Espagnols, ou PAmbitieux." 
While she was working at this with ardor and success, the 
posthumous work of Mme. de Stael, " Considerations sur la 
Revolution Franchise," came out in 1818, and made a great 
impression on her. !N"ow that sixty years have elapsed, it is 
difficult for us to realize the extraordinary effect of Mme. de 
Stael's eloquent dissertation on the principles of the Revolu- 
tion. The opinions of the author, then quite novel, are now 
merely noble truisms obvious to all. But in the days that 
immediately followed the Empire they were something more. 
Everything was then new, and the younger generation, wno 
had undergone twenty years of tyranny, had to learn over 
again that which their fathers had known so well in 1T89. 

My grandmother was especially struck by the eloquent 
pages in which the author gives somewhat declamatory ex- 
pression to her hatred of Napoleon. Mme. de Remusat felt 
a certain sympathy with the author's sentiments, but she 
could not forget that at one time she had thought differently. 
People who are fond of writing are easily tempted into ex- 
plaining their conduct and feelings on paper. She conceived 
a strong desire to arrange all her reminiscences, to describe 
the Empire as she had seen it, and how she had at first loved 
and admired, next condemned and dreaded, afterward sus- 
pected and hated, and finally renounced it. The Memoirs 
she had destroyed in 1815 would have been the most accu- 
rate exposition of this succession of events, situations, and 
feelings. It was vain to think of rewriting them, but it 
was possible, with the help of a good memory and an up- 
right intention, to compose others which should be equally 
sincere. Full of this project, she wrote to her son (May 27, 
1818) : 


" I have taken up a new notion. You must know that I 
wake every morning at six o'clock, and that I write regularly 
from that hour until half -past nine. Well, I was sitting up 
with the manuscript of my c Lettres Espagnols ' all scattered 
about me, when certain chapters of Mme. de StaeTs book 
came into my head. I flung my romance aside, and took up 
a clean sheet of paper, bitten with the idea that I must write 
about Bonaparte. On I went, describing the death of the 
Duke d'Enghien and that dreadful week I spent at Malmai- 
son ; and, as I am an emotional person, I seemed to be living 
all through that time over again. Words and events came 
back of themselves; between yesterday and to-day I have 
written twenty pages, and am somewhat agitated in conse- 

The same circumstance which reawakened the recollec- 
tions of the mother aroused the literary tastes of the son ; 
and while he was publishing an article on Mme. de Stae'l in 
the " Archives," * his first appearance in print, he wrote as 
follows to his mother on the same date, May 27, 1818. Their 
respective letters crossed on the road : 

" c All honor to the sincere ! ' This book, my dear mother, 
has renewed my regret that you have burned your Memoirs, 
and has made me most anxious that you should retrieve that 
loss. You really owe this to yourself, to us, to the interests 
of truth. Eead up the old almanacs ; study the ' Moniteur ' 
page by page ; get back your old letters from your friends, 
and go over them, especially those to my father. Try to 
remember not only the details of events, but your own im- 
pressions of them. Try to resuscitate the views you formerly 
held, even the illusions you have lost ; recall your very er- 
rors. Show how you, with many other honorable and sensi- 
ble people, indignant and disgusted with the horrors of the 

* "Archives Philosophiques, Politiques et Litte>aires," rol. v., Paris, 1818. 
My father reprinted this article in the collection entitled " Critiques et Etudes 
Litteraires, ou Passe" et Present," par Ch. de Rerausat. 2 vols., 12rno. Paris, 

xliv PREFACE. 

Eevolution, were carried away by natural aversions, and be- 
guiled by enthusiasm for one man, which was in reality high- 
ly patriotic. Explain how we had all of us become, as it 
were, strangers to political life. We had no dread of the 
empire of an individual; we went out to meet it. Then 
show how this man either became corrupt, or else displayed 
his true character as his power increased. Tell how it un- 
fortunately happened that, as you lost one by one your illu- 
sions concerning him, you became more and more dependent, 
and how the less you submitted to him in heart, the more 
you were obliged to obey him in fact ; how at last, after hav- 
ing believed in the uprightness of his policy because you 
were mistaken in himself, your discovery of his true charac- 
ter led you to a correct view of his system ; and how moral 
indignation finally brought you by degrees to what I may 
call a political hatred of him. This, my dear mother, is 
what I entreat of you to do. You see what I mean, do you 
not ? and you will do it." 

Two days after, on the 30th of May, my grandmother re- 
plied as follows : 

" Is it not wonderful how perfectly we understand each 
other ? I am reading the book, and I am as much struck by 
it as you are. I regret my poor Memoirs for new reasons, 
and I take up my pen again without quite knowing whither 
it will lead me ; for, my dear child, this task which you have 
set me, and which of itself is tempting, is also formidable. 
I shall, however, set about reviving my impressions of cer- 
tain epochs, at first without order or sequence, just as things 
come back to me. You may trust me to set down the very 
truth. Yesterday, when I was alone and at my desk, I was 
trying to recall my first meeting with this wretched man. 
A tide of remembrance rushed over me, and that which you 
so justly call my political hatred was ready to fade away and 
give place to my former illusions." 

A few days later, on the 8th of June, 1818, she dwells 
on the difficulties of her task : 


" Do you know that I need all my courage to do as you 
tell me ? I am like a person who, having spent ten years at 
the galleys, is asked to write an account of how he passed his 
time. My heart sinks when I recall old memories. There is 
pain both in my past fancies and in my present feelings. You 
are right in saying I love truth ; but it follows that I can not, 
like so many others, recall the past with impunity, and I assure 
you that, for the last week, I have risen quite saddened from 
the desk at which you and Mme. de Stael have placed me. I 
could not reveal these feelings to any one but you. Others 
would not understand, and would only laugh at me." 

On the 28th of September and the 8th of October of the 
same year, she writes to her son : 

" If I were a man, I should certainly devote a part of 
my life to studying the League; being only a woman, I 
confine myself to verbal utterances about you know whom. 
What a man ! what a man ! It terrifies me to retrace it 
all. It was my misfortune to be very young when I was 
placed near him; I did not reflect on what passed before 
me ; but now that w r e are both older, I and the generation 
to which I belong, my memories move me more than did 
events at that time. If you come ... I think you will 
find that I have not lost much time this summer. I have 
already written nearly five hundred pages, and I am going 
to write much more ; the task lengthens as I work at it. 
Afterward much time and patience will be required to put 
all this material in order. Perhaps I shall never have either 
one or the other ; if so, that will be your business when I 
shall be no longer here." 

" Your father," she writes again, " says that he does not 
know of any one to whom I could show what I am writing. 
He declares that no one excels me in ' the talent for being 
true ' as he expresses it. So, therefore, I write for nobody 
in particular. Some day you will find my manuscripts among 
my effects, and you can do what you like with them." 

On the 8th of October, 1818, she writes : There is a 

xlvi PREFACE. 

thought that sometimes troubles me. I say to myself, < Sup- 
pose some day my son publishes this, what will be said of 
me ? ' Then the fear seizes me that I shall be held to have 
been malicious, or at least ill-natured, and I rack my brain 
for something to praise. But this man (Bonaparte) was such 
a ruthless destroyer of all worth and we were brought so 
low that I am straitened by the demands of truth, and I 
grow quite disheartened." 

These fragments of her letters indicate the spirit in which 
the Memoirs of Mme. de Remusat were written ; and it was 
not that of a literary pastime, nor a pleasure of the imagina- 
tion. Her motive was neither ambition to be an author, nor 
the desire to put forward an apology. The love of truth, 
the political spectacle before her eyes, and the influence of a 
son who became day by day more strongly confirmed in those 
Liberal opinions which were destined to be the delight and 
the honor of his life these things gave her courage to per- 
severe in her task for more than two years. She understood 
that noble policy which places the rights of man above the 
rights of the State. Nor was this all. As often happens to 
persons deeply engaged in intellectual work, her task became 
plain and easy, and she led a more active life than at any 
previous time. In spite of failing health, she constantly 
traveled from Lille to Paris ; she acted the part of Elmire in 
" Tartuffe " at M. Mole's house at Champldtreux ; she com- 
menced a work on the Women of the Seventeenth Century, 
which she afterward expanded into her " Essai sur 1'Educa- 
tion des Femmes " ; she supplied Dupuytren with material 
for a panegyric on Corvisart, and she even published a tale 
in the " Lycee Fran^ais." * 

In the midst of the happiness which she derived from 
her quiet life and her busy mind, from her husband's official 
and her son's literary success, her health failed. First came 
a weakness of the eyes, which, without actually threatening 

* " Lyc6e Frai^ais, on Melange de Litte'rature ct de Critique," t. iii., p. 281 
(1820). ' 

PREFACE. X l vii 

her sight, occasioned her both pain and inconvenience ; then 
followed a general delicacy of the system, in which the 
stomach was chiefly affected. After alternate changes for 
the better and the worse, her son brought her to Paris on 
the 28th of November, 1821, in a suffering condition, which 
was alarming to those who loved her, but did not appear to 
the doctors to indicate immediate danger. Broussais, how- 
ever, took a desponding view of her case, and my father was 
then first struck by the power of induction to which the 
discoveries and the errors of that eminent man are alike due. 
Notwithstanding her illness, she occupied herself on her re- 
turn to Lille with literary and historical work, and received 
company, including a great number of political personages. 
She was still able to feel interested in the fall of the Duke 
Decazes, and she foresaw that the coming into power of M. 
de Villele that is to say, of the ultras or reactionaries, as 
they are now called would render it impossible for her 
husband to retain the Prefecture of Lille ; and, in fact, he 
was superseded on the 9th of January, 1822. Before this 
occurred, Mme. de Kemusat was no more. She expired sud- 
denly in the night, December 16, 1821, aged forty-one years. 
She bequeathed to her son a lifelong sorrow, and to her 
friends the memory of a remarkable and charming woman. 
Not one of those friends is now living; M. Pasquier, M. 
Mole, M. Guizot, and M. Leclerc have recently passed away. 
I render her memory the truest homage in my power by the 
publication of these unfinished Memoirs, which, with the 
exception of a few chapters, she was unable to read over or 
correct. The work was to have been divided into five parts, 
corresponding with five distinct epochs. She completed only 
three, which- treat of the interval between 1802 and 1808 ; 
that is to say, from her first appearance at Court to the 
breaking out of the war in Spain. The unwritten portions 
would have described the period that elapsed between that 
war and the divorce (1808-1809), and the five following 
years, ending with the fall of the Emperor. I am well 

xlviii PREFACE. 

aware that a work of the nature of this one is calculated to 
bring down upon both its author and its editor much blame, 
many insinuations, and a great deal of political animosity. 
Its apparent contradictions will be held up to observation, 
rather than the interesting analogy of the opinions of three 
generations which it sets forth, and the difference in the 
times. It will be a theme for wonder that any man could 
be a chamberlain and any woman a lady-in-waiting, and yet 
that both could be so far from servile, so liberal, so little 
shocked by the 18th Brumaire, so patriotic, so much fasci- 
nated by that man of genius, Bonaparte, and so severe upon 
his faults, so clear-sighted respecting the majority of the 
members of the Imperial family, so indulgent or so blind 
with regard to others who have left an equally fatal impress 
on our national history. It will, however, be difficult to 
avoid doing justice to the sincerity, the honesty, and the 
intelligence of the author, or to read the book without de- 
riving from it an increased aversion to absolute power, a 
keener perception of its sophistry, and the hollowness of the 
apparent prosperity with which it dazzles public opinion. 
These impressions I have especially derived from it, and I 
desire to retain them. It would have been sufficient preface 
to this book had I written only those words which my father 
uttered, sixty years ago, when, on reading Mme. de Stael, 
he asked his mother to tell him the story of the cruel years 
of the First Empire : " All honor to the sincere ! " 






Now that I am about to commence these Memoirs, I 
think it well to precede them by some observations on the 
character of the Emperor, and the various members of his 
family respectively. These observations will help me in the 
difficult task I am about to undertake, by aiding me to recall 
the impressions of the last twelve years. I shall begin with 
Bonaparte himself. I am far from saying that he always 
appeared to me in the light in which I see him now ; my 
opinions have progressed, even as he did ; but I am so far 
from being influenced by personal feelings, that I do not 
think it is possible for me to deviate from the exact truth. 

Napoleon Bonaparte is of low stature, and rather ill- 
proportioned ; his bust is too long, and so shortens the rest 
of his figure. He has thin chestnut hair, his eyes are grayish 
blue, and his skin, which was yellow while he was slight, 
became in later years a dead white without any color. His 
forehead, the setting of his eye, the line of his nose all that 
is beautiful, and reminds one of an antique medallion. His 
mouth, which is thin-lipped, becomes agreeable when he 
laughs ; the teeth are regular. His chin is short, and his 


jaw heavy and square. He has well-formed hands and feet ; 
I mention them particularly, because he thought a good deal 
of them. 

He has an habitual slight stoop. His eyes are dull, giv- 
ing to his face when in repose a melancholy and meditative 
expression. When he is excited with anger his looks are 
fierce and menacing. Laughter becomes him ; it makes him 
look more youthful and less formidable. It is difficult not 
to like him when he laughs, his countenance improves so 
much. He was always simple in his dress, and generally 
wore the uniform of his own guard. He was cleanly rather 
from habit than from a liking for cleanliness; he bathed 
often, sometimes in the middle of the night, because he 
thought the practice good for his health. But, apart from 
this, the precipitation with he did everything did not admit 
of his clothes being put on carefully ; and on gala days and 
full-dress occasions his servants were obliged to consult to- 
gether as to when they might snatch a moment to dress him. 

He could not endure the wearing of ornaments ; the 
slightest constraint was insupportable to him. He would 
tear off or break anything that gave him the least annoy- 
ance ; and sometimes the poor valet who had occasioned him 
a passing inconvenience would receive violent proof of his 
anger. I have said there was a sort of fascination in the 
smile of Bonaparte ; but, during all the time I was in the 
habit of seeing him, he rarely put forth that charm. Gravity 
was the foundation of his character ; not the gravity of a 
dignified and noble manner, but that which arises from pro- 
found thought. In his youth he was a dreamer ; later in life 
he became a moody, and later still an habitually ill-tempered 
man. When I first began to know him well, he was exceed- 
ingly fond of all that induces reverie Ossian, the twilight, 
melancholy music. I have seen him enraptured by the mur- 
mur of the wind, I have heard him talk with enthusiasm of 
the moaning of the sea, and he was tempted sometimes to 
believe that nocturnal apparitions were not beyond the bounds 


of possibility ; in fact, he had a leaning to certain supersti- 
tions. When, on leaving his study in the evening, he went 
into Mme. Bonaparte's drawing-room, he would sometimes 
have the candles shaded with white gauze, desire us to keep 
profound silence, and amuse himself by telling or hearing 
ghost stories ; or he would listen to soft, sweet music exe- 
cuted by Italian singers, accompanied only by a few instru- 
ments lightly touched. Then he would fall into a reverie 
which all respected, no one venturing to move or stir from 
his or her place. When he aroused himself from that state, 
which seemed to procure him a sort of repose, he was gen- 
erally more serene and more communicative. Pie liked then 
to talk about the sensations he had experienced. He would 
explain the effect music had upon him ; he always preferred 
that of Paisiello, because he said it was monotonous, and 
that impressions which repeat themselves are the only ones 
that take possession of us. The geometrical turn of his mind 
disposed him to analyze even his emotions. No man has 
ever meditated more deeply than Bonaparte on the " where- 
fore " that rules human actions. Always aiming at some- 
thing, even in the least important acts of his life, always lay- 
ing bare to himself a secret motive for each of them, he 
could never understand that natural nonchalance which leads 
some persons to act without a project and without an aim. 
He always judged others by himself, and was often mistaken, 
his conclusions and the actions which ensued upon them both 
proving erroneous. 

Bonaparte was deficient in education and in manners ; it 
seemed as if he must have been destined either to live in a 
tent where all men are equal, or upon a throne where every- 
thing is permitted. He did not know how either to enter or 
to leave a room ; he did not know how to make a bow, how 
to rise, or how to sit down. His questions were abrupt, and 
so also was his manner of speech. Spoken by him, Italian 
loses all its grace and sweetness. Whatever language he 
speaks, it seems always to be a foreign tongue to him ; he 


appears to force it to express his thoughts. And then, as 
any rigid rule becomes an insupportable annoyance to him, 
every liberty which he takes pleases him as though it were a 
victory, and he would never yield even to grammar. He 
used to say that in his youth he had liked reading romances 
as well as studying the exact sciences ; and probably he was 
influenced by so incongruous a mixture. Unfortunately, he 
had met with the worst kind of romances, and retained so 
keen a remembrance of the pleasure they had given him that, 
when he married the Archduchess Marie Louise, he gave her 
"Hippolyte, Comte de Douglas," and "LesContemporains,"* 
so that, as he said, she might form an idea of refined feeling, 
and also of the customs of society. 

In trying to depict Bonaparte, it would be necessary, fol- 
lowing the analytical forms of which he was so fond, to sepa- 
rate into three very distinct parts his soul, his heart, and his 
mind ; for no one of these ever blended completely with the 
others. Although very remarkable for certain intellectual 
qualities, no man, it must be allowed, was ever less lofty of 
soul. There was no generosity, no true greatness in him. 
J haye never known him to admire, I have never known him 
to comprehend, a fine action. He always regarded every in- 
dication of a good feeling with suspicion ; he did not value 
sincerity ; and he did npt hesitate to say that he recognized 
the superiority, of a man by the greater or less degree of 
cleverness with which he used the art of lying. On the oc- 
casion of his saying this, he added, with great complacency, 
that when he was a child one of his uncles had predicted 
that he should govern the world, because he was an habitual 
liar. " M. de Metternich," he added, " approaches to being 
a statesman he lies very well." 

All Bonaparte's methods of government were selected 
from among those which have a tendency to debase men. 
He dreaded the ties of affection ; he endeavored to isolate 

* " Les Contemporains " was a romance, or rather a series of stories or por- 
raits, by Retif de la Bretonne. 


every one ; he never sold a favor without awakening a sense 
of uneasiness, for he held that the true way to attach the 
recipients to himself was by compromising them, and often 
even by blasting them in public opinion. He could not 
pardon virtue until he had succeeded in weakening its effect 
by ridicule. He can not be said to have truly loved glory, 
for he never hesitated to prefer success to it ; thus, although 
he was audacious in good fortune, and although he pushed 
it to its utmost limits, he was tirnid and troubled when 
threatened with reverses. Of generous courage he was not 
capable ; and, indeed, on that head one would hardly ven- 
ture to tell the truth so plainly as he has told it himself, by 
an admission recorded in an anecdote which I have never 
forgotten. One day, after his defeat at Leipsic, and when, 
as he was about to return to Paris, he was occupied in col- 
lecting the remains of his army for the defense of our fron- 
tiers, he was talking to M. de Talleyrand of the ill success 
of the Spanish war, and of the difficulty in which it had in- 
volved him. He spoke openly of his own position, not with 
the noble frankness that does not fear to own a fault, but 
with that haughty sense of superiority which releases one 
from the necessity of dissimulation. At this interview, in 
the midst of his plain speaking, M. de Talleyrand said to 
him suddenly, " But how is it ? You consult me as if we 
had not quarreled." 

Bonaparte answered, " Ah, circumstances ! circumstances! 
Let us leave the past and the future alone. I want to hear 
what you think of the present moment." 

"Well," replied M. de Talleyrand, "there is only one 
thing you can do. You have made a mistake : you must say 
so ; try to say so nobly. Proclaim, therefore, that being a 
King by the choice of the people, elected by the nations, it 
has never been your design to set yourself against them. 
Say that, when you began the war with Spain, you believed 
you were about to deliver the people from the yoke of an 
odious minister, who was encouraged by the weakness of his 


prince ; but that, on closer observation, you perceive that the 
Spaniards, although aware of the faults of their King, are 
none the less attached to his dynasty, which you are there- 
fore about to restore to them, so that it may not be said you 
ever opposed a national aspiration. After that proclamation, 
restore King Ferdinand to liberty, and withdraw your troops. 
Such an avowal, made in a lofty tone, and when the enemy 
are still hesitating on our frontier, can only do you honor ; 
and you are still too strong for it to be regarded as a coward- 
ly act." 

" A cowardly act ! " replied Bonaparte ; " what does that 
matter to me ? Understand that I should not fail to com- 
mit one, if it were useful to me. In reality, there is nothing 
really noble or base in this world ; I have in my character 
all that can contribute to secure my power, and to deceive 
those who think they know me. Frankly, I am base, essen- 
tially base. I give you my word that I should feel no re- 
pugnance to commit what would be called by the world a 
dishonorable action ; my secret tendencies, which are, after 
all, those of nature, opposed to certain affectations of great- 
ness with which I have to adorn myself, give me infinite 
resources with which to baffle every one. Therefore, all I 
have to do now is to consider whether your advice agrees 
with my present policy, and to try and find out besides," he 
added (says M. de Talleyrand), with a satanic smile, " wheth- 
er you have not some private interest in urging me to take 
this step." 

Another anecdote which bears on the same characteristic 
will not be out of place here. Bonaparte, when on the 
point of setting out for Egypt, went to see M. de Talley- 
rand, then Minister of Foreign Affairs under the Directory. 
" I was in bed, being ill," said M. de Talleyrand. " Bona- 
parte sat down near me, and divulged to me all the dreams 
of his youthful imagination. I was interested in him be- 
cause of the activity of his mind, and also on account of the 
obstacles which I was aware would be placed in his way by 


secret enemies of whom I knew. He told me of the diffi- 
culty in which he was placed for want of money, and that 
he did not know where to get any. i Stay,' I said to him ; 
' open my desk. You will find there a hundred thousand 
francs which belong to me. They are yours for the present ; 
you may repay the money when you return.' Bonaparte 
threw himself on my neck, and I was really delighted to 
witness his joy. When he became Consul, he gave me back 
the money I had lent him ; but he asked me one day, ' What 
interest could you have had in lending me that money ? I 
have thought about it a hundred times since then, and have 
never been able to make out your object.' ' I had none,' I 
replied. ' I was feeling very ill : it was quite possible I 
might never see you again ; but you were young, you had 
impressed me very strongly, and I felt impelled to render 
you a service without any afterthought whatsoever.' ' In 
that case,' said Bonaparte, ' and if it was really done without 
any design, you acted a dupe's part.' '' 

According to the order I have laid down, I ought now to 
speak of Bonaparte's heart ; but, if it were possible to believe 
that a being, in every other way similar to ourselves, could 
exist without that portion of our organization which makes 
us desire to love and to be loved, I should say that in his cre- 
ation the heart was left out. Perhaps, however, the truth 
was that he succeeded in suppressing it completely. He was 
always too much engrossed by himself to be influenced by 
any sentiment of affection, no matter of what kind. He al- 
most ignored the ties of blood and the rights of nature ; I do 
not know that even paternity weighed with him. It seemed, 
at least, that he did not regard it as his primary relation with 
his son. One day, at breakfast, when, as was often the case, 
Talma had been admitted to see him, the young Napoleon 
was brought to him. The Emperor took the child on his 
knee, and, far from caressing, amused himself by slapping 
him, though not so as to hurt him ; then, turning to Talma, 
he said, "Talma, tell me what I am doing?" Talma, as 


may be supposed, did not know what to say. " You do not 
see it," continued the Emperor ; " I am slapping a King." 

Notwithstanding his habitual hardness, Bonaparte was 
not entirely without experience of love. But, good heav- 
ens ! what manner of sentiment was it in his case ? A sen- 
sitive person forgets self in love, and becomes almost trans- 
formed ; but to a man of the stamp of Bonaparte it only 
supplies an additional sort of despotism. The Emperor de- 
spised women, and contempt can not exist together with love. 
He regarded their weakness as an unanswerable proof of 
their inferiority, and the power they have acquired in socie- 
ty as an intolerable usurpation a result and an abuse of the 
progress of that civilization which, as M. de Talleyrand said, 
was always his personal enemy. On this account Bonaparte 
was under restraint in the society of women ; and, as every 
kind of restraint put him out of humor, he was always awk- 
ward in their presence, and never knew how to talk to them. 
It is true that the women with whom he was acquainted 
were not calculated to change his views of the sex. "We 
may easily imagine the nature of his youthful experiences. 
In Italy morals were utterly depraved, and the general licen- 
tiousness was augmented by the presence of the French 
army. "When he returned to France society was entirely 
broken up and dispersed. The circle that surrounded the 
Directory was a corrupt one, and the Parisian women to 
whose society he was admitted were vain and frivolous, the 
wives of men of business and contractors. When he became 
Consul, and made his generals and his aides-de-camp marry, 
or ordered them to bring their wives to Court, the only 
women he had about him were timid and silent girls, newly 
married, or the wives of his former comrades, suddenly with- 
drawn from obscurity by the good fortune of their husbands, 
and ill able to conform to the change in their position. 

I am disposed to believe that Bonaparte, almost always 
exclusively occupied by politics, was never awakened to love 
except by vanity. He thought nothing of a woman except 


while she was beautiful, or at least young. He would prob- 
ably have been willing to subscribe to the doctrine that, in a 
well-organized country, we should be killed just as certain 
kinds of insects are destined by nature to a speedy death, so 
soon as they have accomplished the task of maternity. Yet 
Bonaparte had some affection for his first wife ; and, if he was 
ever really stirred by any emotion, it was by her and for her. 
Even a Bonaparte can not completely escape from every influ- 
ence, and a man's character is composed, not of what he is 
always, but of what he is most frequently. 

Bonaparte was young when he first made the acquain- 
tance of Mme. de Beauharnais, who was greatly superior to 
the rest of the circle in which she moved, both by reason 
of the name she bore and from the elegance of her manners. 
She attached herself to him, and flattered his pride ; she pro- 
cured him a step in rank ; he became accustomed to associate 
the idea of her influence with every piece of good fortune 
which befell him. This superstition, which she kept up 
very cleverly, exerted great power over him for a long time ; 
it even induced him more than once to delay the execution of 
his projects of divorce. When he married Mme. de Beau- 
harnais, Bonaparte believed that he was allying himself to a 
very great lady ; his marriage, therefore, was one conquest 
the more. I shall give further details of the charm she exer- 
cised over him when I have to speak more particularly 
of her. 

Notwithstanding his preference for her, I have seen him 
in love two or three times, and it was on those occasions 
that he exhibited the full measure of the despotism of his 
character. How irritated he became at the least obstacle! 
How roughly he put aside the jealous remonstrances of his 
wife ! " It is your place," he said, " to submit to all my 
fancies, and you ought to think it quite natural that I should 
allow myself amusements of this kind. I have a right to an- 
swer all your complaints by an eternal I. I am a person 
apart ; I will not be dictated to by any one." But he soon 


began to desire to exercise over the object of his passing 
preference an authority equal to that by which he silenced 
his wife. Astonished that any one should have any ascen- 
dancy over him, he speedily became angry with the auda- 
cious individual, and he would abruptly get rid of the object 
of his brief passion, having let the public into the transpa- 
rent secret of his success. 

The intellect of Bonaparte was most remarkable. It 
would be difficult, I think, to find among men a more power- 
ful or comprehensive mind. It owed nothing to education ; 
for, in reality, he was ignorant, reading but little, and that 
hurriedly. But he quickly seized upon the little he learned, 
and his imagination developed it so extensively that he might 
easily have passed for a well-educated man. 

His intellectual capacity seemed to be vast, from the 
number of subjects he could take in and classify without 
fatigue. With him one idea gave birth to a thousand, and a 
word would lift his conversation into elevated regions of 
fancy, in which exact logic did not indeed keep him com- 
pany, but in which his intellect never failed to shine. 

It was always a great pleasure to me to hear him talk, or 
rather to hear him hold forth, for his conversation was com- 
posed generally of long monologues ; not that he objected to 
replies when he was in a good humor, but, for many reasons, 
it was not always easy to answer him. His Court, which for 
a long time was entirely military, listened to his least word 
with the respect that is paid to the word of command ; and 
afterward it became so numerous that any individual under- 
taking to refute him, or to carry on a dialogue with him, felt 
like an actor before an audience. I have said that he spoke 
badly, but his language was generally animated and brilliant ; 
his grammatical inaccuracies sometimes lent his sentences 
an unexpected strength, very suitable to the originality of 
his ideas. He required no interlocutor to warm him up. 
He would dash into a subject, and go on for a long time, 
careful to notice, however, whether he was followed, and 


pleased with those who comprehended and applauded him. 
Formerly, to know how to listen to him was a sure and easy 
way of pleasing him. Like an actor who becomes excited 
by the effect he produces, Bonaparte enjoyed the admiration 
he watched for closely in the faces of his audience. I re- 
member well how, because he interested me very much when 
he spoke, and I listened to him with pleasure, he proclaimed 
me a woman of intellect, although at that time I had not 
addressed two consecutive sentences to him. 

He was very fond of talking about himself, and criticised 
himself on certain points, just as another person might have 
done. Eather than fail to make the most out of his own 
character, he would not have hesitated to subject it to the 
most searching analysis. He used often to say that a real 
politician knows how to calculate even the smallest profits 
that he can make out of his defects ; and M. de Talleyrand 
carried that reflection even further. I once heard him say, 
" That devil of a man deceives one on all points. His very- 
passions mislead, for he manages to dissemble them even 
when they really exist." I can recall an incident which will 
show how, when he found it useful, he could pass from the 
most complete calm to the most violent anger. 

A little while before our last rupture with England, a 
rumor was spread that war was about to recommence, and 
that the ambassador, Lord Whitworth, was preparing to leave 
Paris. Once a month the First Consul was in the habit of 
receiving, in Mme. Bonaparte's apartments, the ambassadors 
and their wives. This reception was held in great pomp. 
The foreigners were ushered into a drawing-room, and when 
they were all there the First Consul would appear, accompa- 
nied by his wife. Both were attended by a prefect and a 
lady of the palace. To each of them the ambassadors and 
their wives were introduced by name. Mme. Bonaparte 
would take a seat ; the First Consul would keep up the con- 
versation for a longer or a shorter time, according to his con- 
venience, and then withdraw with a slight bow. A few 


days before the breach of the peace, the Corps Diplomatique 
had met as usual at the Tuileries. While they were wait- 
ing, I went to Mme. Bonaparte's apartment, and entered the 
dressing-room, where she was finishing her toilet. 

The First Consul was sitting on the floor, playing with 
little Napoleon, the eldest son of his brother Louis. He 
presently began to criticise his wife's dress, and also mine, 
giving us his opinion on every detail of our costume. He 
seemed to be in the best possible humor. I remarked this, 
and said to him that, judging by appearances, the letters the 
ambassadors would have to write, after the approaching audi- 
ence, would breathe nothing but peace and concord. Bona- 
parte laughed, and went on playing with his little nephew. 

By-and-by he was told that the company had arrived. 
Then he rose quickly, the gayety vanished from his face, and 
I was struck by the severe expression that suddenly replaced 
it : he seemed to grow pale at will, his features contracted ; 
and all this in less time than it takes me to describe it. " Let 
us go, mesdames," said he, in a troubled voice ; and then he 
walked on quickly, entered the drawing-room, and, without 
bowing to any one, advanced to the English ambassador. 
To him he began to complain bitterly of the proceedings of 
his Government. His anger seemed to increase every min- 
ute ; it soon reached a height which terrified the assembly ; 
the hardest words, the most violent threats, were poured 
forth by his trembling lips. No one dared to move. Mme. 
Bonaparte and I looked at each other, dumb with astonish- 
ment, and every one trembled. The impassibility of the 
Englishman was even disconcerted, and it was with difficulty 
he could find words to answer. 

Another anecdote* which sounds strange, but is very 

* The Abbe de Pradt relates that on one occasion, after a violent Bcene, the 
Emperor came to him and said : " You thought me terribly angry ? Undeceive 
yourself; with me anger never goes beyond this." And he passed his hand 
across his throat, thus indicating that his passion never rose high enough to 
disturb his head. 


characteristic, proves how completely he could command 
himself when he chose to do so. 

When he was traveling, or even during a campaign, he 
never failed to indulge in gallantries which he regarded as 
a short respite from business or battles. His brother-in-law 
Murat, and his grand-marshal Duroc, were charged with the 
task of procuring him the means of gratifying his passing 
fancies. On the occasion of his first entry into Poland, 
Murat, who had preceded him to Warsaw, was ordered 
to find for the Emperor, who would shortly arrive, a young 
and pretty mistress, and to select her from among the nobil- 
ity. He acquitted himself cleverly of this commission, and 
induced a noble young Polish lady, who was married to an 
old man, to comply with the Emperor's wishes. Ko one 
knows what means he employed, or what were his promises ; 
but at last the lady consented to go in the evening to the 
castle near "Warsaw, where the Emperor was lodged. 

The fair one arrived rather late at her destination. She 
has herself narrated this adventure, and she acknowledges, 
what we can readily believe, that she arrived agitated and 

The Emperor was in his cabinet. The lady's arrival was 
announced to him ; but, without disturbing himself, he or- 
dered her to be conducted to her apartment, and offered 
supper and a bath, adding that afterward she might retire to 
rest if she chose. Then he quietly went on writing until a 
late hour at night. 

At last, his business being finished, he proceeded to the 
apartment where he had been so long waited for, and pre- 
sented himself with all the manner of a master who disdains 
useless preliminaries. Without losing a moment, he began a 
singular conversation on the political situation of Poland, 
questioning the young lady as if she had been a police agent, 
and demanding some very circumstantial information respect- 
ing the great Polish nobles who were then in Warsaw. He 
inquired particularly into their opinions and their present in- 


terests, and prolonged this extraordinary interrogatory for a 
long time. The astonishment of a woman twenty years of 
age, who was not prepared for such a cross-examination, may 
be imagined. She answered him as well as she could, and 
only when she could tell him no more did he seem to remem- 
ber that Murat had promised, in his name, an interview of a 
more tender nature. 

This extraordinary wooing did not, however, prevent the 
young Polish lady from becoming attached to the Emperor, 
for their liaison was prolonged during several campaigns. 
Afterward the fair Pole came to Paris, where a son was 
born, who became the object of the hopes of Poland, the 
rallying point of Polish dreams of independence. 

I saw his mother when she was presented at the Imperial 
Court, where she at first excited the jealousy of Mine. Bona- 
parte ; but after the divorce she became the intimate friend 
of the repudiated Empress at Malmaison, whither she often 
brought her son. It is said that she was faithful to the Em- 
peror in his misfortunes, and that she visited him more than 
once at the Isle of Elba. He found her again in France 
when he made his last and fatal appearance there. But, 
after his second fall (I do not know at what time she became 
a widow), she married again, and she died in Paris this year 
(1818). I had these details from M. de Talleyrand. 

I will now resume my sketch. Bonaparte carried self- 
ishness so far that it was not easy to move him about any- 
thing that did not concern himself. He was, however, oc- 
casionally surprised, as it were, into impulses of tenderness ; 
but they were very fugitive, and always ended in ill humor. 
It was not uncommon to see him moved even to the point of 
shedding a few tears ; they seemed to arise from nervous ir- 
ritation, of which they became the crisis. "I have," he 
said, " very unmanageable nerves,, and at these times, if my 
blood did not always flow slowly, I think I should be very 
likely to go mad." I know, indeed, from Corvisart, that his 
pulse beat more slowly than is usual for a man's. Bonaparte 


never felt what is commonly called giddiness, and lie always 
said that the expression, " My head is going round," con- 
veyed no meaning to him. It was not only from the ease 
with which he yielded to all his impulses that he often used 
language which was painful and distressing to those whom 
he addressed, but also because he felt a secret pleasure in 
exciting fear, and in harassing the more or less trembling 
individuals before him. He held that uncertainty stimulates 
zeal, and therefore he rarely displayed satisfaction with 
either persons or things. Admirably served, always obeyed 
on the moment, he would still find fault, and keep every- 
body in the palace in dread of his displeasure about some 
small detail. If the easy flow of his conversation had estab- 
lished for the time a sense of ease, he would suddenly imag- 
ine that it might be abused, and by a hard and imperious 
word put the person whom he had welcomed and encouraged 
in his or her place that is to say, in fear. He hated repose 
for himself and grudged it to others. When M. de Kemusat 
had arranged one of those magnificent fetes where all the 
arts were laid under contribution for his pleasure, I was 
never asked whether the Emperor was pleased, but whether 
he had grumbled more or less. His service was the severest 
of toil. He has been heard to say, in one of those moments 
when the strength of conviction appeared to weigh upon 
him, " The truly happy man is he who hides from me in 
the country, and when I die the world will utter a great 

I have said that Bonaparte was incapable of generosity ; 
and yet his gifts were immense, and the rewards he bestowed 
gigantic. But, when he paid for a service, he made it plain 
that he expected to buy another, and a vague uneasiness as to 
the conditions of the bargain always remained. There wag 
also a good deal of caprice in his gifts, so that they rarely ex- 
cited gratitude. Moreover, he required that the money he 
distributed should all be expended, and he rather liked peo- 
ple to contract debts, because it kept them in a state of de- 


pendence. His wife gave him complete satisfaction in the 
latter particular, and he would never put her affairs in order, 
so that he might keep the power of making her uneasy in his 
hands. At one time he settled a considerable revenue on M. 
de R6musat, that we might keep what is called open house, 
and receive a great many foreigners. We were very exact 
in the first expenses demanded by a great establishment. A 
little while after, I had the misfortune to lose my mother, 
and was forced to close my house. The Emperor then re- 
scinded all his gifts, on the ground that we could not keep 
the engagement we had made, and he left us in what was 
really a position of embarrassment, caused entirely by his 
fugitive and burdensome gifts. I pause here. If I carry 
out the plan I have formed, my memory, carefully consulted, 
will furnish me by degrees with other anecdotes which will 
complete this sketch. What I have already written will suf- 
fice to convey an idea of the character of him with whom 
circumstances connected the best years of my life. 


Mme. Bonaparte (nee Ramolini) was married in 1767 to 
Charles Bonaparte, who belonged to one of the noble fami- 
lies of Corsica. It is said that there had been a liaison be- 
tween her and M. de Marbeuf, governor of the island ; and 
some went so far as to allege that Napoleon was the son of 
M. de Marbeuf. It is certain that he always showed kind- 
ness to the family of Marbeuf. However that may have 
been, the governor had Napoleon Bonaparte included among 
the number of noble children who were to be sent from Cor- 
sica to France, to be educated at a military school. He was 
placed at that of Brienne. 

The English having become masters of Corsica in 1790, 
Mme. Bonaparte, a rich widow, retired to Marseilles with 
her other children. Their education had been much neg- 
lected, and, if we are to accept the recollections of the Mar- 
seillais as evidence, her daughters had not been brought up 


under the strict rule of a scrupulous morality. The Em- 
peror, indeed, never pardoned the town of Marseilles for 
having been aware of the position his family occupied at 
that period, and the disparaging anecdotes of them impru- 
dently repeated by certain Provencals seriously militated 
against the interests of the whole of Provence. 

The widowed Mme. Bonaparte established herself at 
Paris on her son's attainment of power. She lived a retired 
life, amassing as much money as possible ; she meddled in 
no public matters, and neither had nor wished to have any 
influence. Her son overawed her, as he did all the rest of 
the world. She was a woman of very ordinary intelligence, 
who, notwithstanding the rank in which events placed her, 
never did anything worthy of praise. After the fall of the 
Empire she retired to Home, where she lived with her brother, 
Cardinal Fesch. It is said that he, in the first Italian cam- 
paign, showed himself eager to profit by the opportunity of 
founding his fortune which then presented itself. He ac- 
quired, received, or even took, it is said, a considerable quan- 
tity of pictures, statues, and valuable articles, which have 
since served to decorate his various residences. When he 
afterward became a Cardinal and Archbishop of Lyons, he 
devoted himself wholly to the duties of his two great offices, 
and in the end he acquired a most honorable reputation 
among the clergy. He often opposed the Emperor while 
his disputes with the Pope were pending, and was not one 
of the least obstacles to the execution of Bonaparte's wishes 
on the occasion of the futile attempt to hold a council at 
Paris. Either for political reasons or from religious motives, 
he made some opposition to the divorce ; at least, the Em- 
press Josephine believed him to have done so. I shall go 
more into details on this subject hereafter. The Cardinal 
has, since his retirement to Rome, preserved the unvarying 
favor of the Sovereign Pontiff.* 

* Mme. Bonaparte, born in 1750, died in 1839. Cardinal Fesch, born at 
Ajaccio the 3d of January, 1763, died at Rome the 13th of May, 1839. P. R. 



Joseph Bonaparte was born in 1768. He has a hand- 
some face, is fond of the society of women, and has always 
been remarkable for having gentler manners than any of his 
brothers. Like them, however, he affects astute duplicity. 
His ambition, although less developed than that of Napo- 
leon, has nevertheless come out under certain circumstances, 
and he has always shown capacity enough to be master of the 
situations in which he has been placed, difficult though they 
have often been. In 1805 Bonaparte wished to make Joseph 
King of Italy, requiring him, however, to renounce all claim 
to the succession to the throne of France. This Joseph re- 
fused to do. He always adhered tenaciously to what he 
called his rights, and believed himself destined to give the 
French repose from the turmoil in which they were kept by 
the over-activity of his brother. He understood better than 
Napoleon how to carry a point by fair means, but he failed 
to inspire confidence. He is amiable in domestic life ; but 
he did not exhibit much ability, either on the throne of 
Naples or on that of Spain. It is true he was permitted to 
reign only as if he were Napoleon's lieutenant, and in nei- 
ther country did he inspire personal esteem or arouse ani- 

His wife, the daughter of a Marseilles merchant named 
Clary, is the simplest and the best woman in the world. 
Plain, common-looking, timid, and silent, she attracted no 
attention, either at the Emperor's Court, or when she suc- 
cessively wore those two crowns which she has apparently 
lost without regret. There are two daughters by this mar- 
riage. The family is now established in America. The sis- 
ter of Mme. Bonaparte was married to General Bernadotte, 
now King of Sweden. She, who was not a commonplace 
person, had before her marriage been very much in love with 
Napoleon, and appears to have always preserved the memory 

* Joseph Bonaparte died at Florence, the 28th of July, 1844. P. R. 


of that feeling. It has been supposed that her hardly 
extinguished passion caused her obstinate refusal to leave 
France. She lives in Paris at present, where she leads a 
very retired life.* 


Lucien Bonaparte has a great deal of ability. He dis- 
played a taste for the arts and for certain kinds of literature 
at an early age. As a deputy from Corsica, some of his 
speeches in the Council of the Five Hundred were remarked 
at the time ; among others, that which he made on the 22d 
of September, 1798, the anniversary of the foundation of 
the Republic. He there defined the oath that each member 
of the Council ought to take to watch over the constitution 
and liberty, and to execrate any Frenchman who should en- 
deavor to reestablish royalty. On General Jourdan's express- 
ing some fears relative to the rumors that the Council was 
menaced with a speedy overthrow, Lucien reminded them of 
the existence of a decree which pronounced outlawry on all 
who should attack the inviolability of the national repre- 
sentation. It is probable that all the time he had a secret 
understanding with his brother, and was awaiting like him 
the approach of the hour when they might lay the founda- 
tion for the elevation of their family. There were, however, 
some constitutional ideas in Lucien' s head ; and, perhaps, if 
he had been able to preserve any influence over his brother, 
he might have opposed the indefinite growth of arbitrary 
power. He succeeded in sending information to Napoleon 
in Egypt of the state of affairs in France ; and, having thus 
hastened his brother's return, he aided him effectually, as is 
well known, in the revolution of the 18th Brumaire, 1799. 

Lucien afterward became minister of the interior, then 
Ambassador to Spain, and in both capacities he gave offense 
to the First Consul. Bonaparte did not like to remember 

* The Queen of Sweden died a few years ago, after having long lived in 
Paris, in the Rue d'Anjou, Saint Honore. 


services which had been rendered to him, and Lucien was in 
the habit of reminding him of them in an aggressive manner 
during their frequent altercations. 

While he was in Spain he became very intimate with the 
Prince of the Peace, and assisted to arrange the treaty of 
Badajoz,* which on that occasion saved Portugal from inva- 
sion. . 

He received a sum which has been estimated at five hun- 
dred millions of francs as a reward for his services. This 
was paid partly in money, and partly in diamonds. At this 
time he also formed a project of marriage between Bona- 
parte and an Infanta of Spain ; but Napoleon, either from 
affection for his wife, or from fear of exciting the suspicions 
of the republicans, with whom he was still keeping on terms, 
rejected the idea of this marriage, which was to have been 
concluded through the agency of the Prince of the Peace. 

In 1790 Lucien Bonaparte, who was then keeper of the 
military stores near Toulon, had married the daughter of an 
innkeeper, who bore him two daughters, and who died a few 
years later. The elder of these two girls was in after years 
recalled to France by the Emperor, who, when he saw his 
affairs going badly in Spain, wished to treat for peace with 
the Prince of the Asturias, and to make him marry this 
daughter of Lucien's. But the young girl, who was placed 
under her grandmother's care, too frankly imparted in her 
letters to her father the impression she received at her uncle's 
Court ; she ridiculed the most important personages, and her 
letters, having been opened, so irritated the Emperor that he 
sent her back to Italy. 

In 1803 Lucien, now a widower and entirely devoted to 
a life of pleasure, to which I might indeed give a harsher 
name, fell suddenly in love with Mme. Jouberthon, the wife 
of a stock-broker. Her husband was promptly sent to Saint 
Domingo, where he died, and then this beautiful and clever 
woman managed to make Lucien marry her, despite the op- 
* June 6, 1801. P. R. 


position of the First Consul. An open rupture took place be- 
tween the two brothers on that occasion. Lucien left France 
in the spring of 1804, and established himself at Rome. 

It is well known that since then he has devoted himself 
to the interests of the Pope, and has adroitly secured his 
protection ; so much so that even now, although he was re- 
called to Paris at the period of the fatal enterprise of 1815, 
he was permitted to return, after the second restoration of 
the King, to the Roman States, and live quietly with those 
members of his family who had retired thither. Lucien was 
born in 1775.* 


Louis Bonaparte, born in 1778, is a man concerning 
whom opinions have differed widely. His assumption of a 
stricter morality, than that of other members of his family, 
his odd opinions based, however, on daring theories rather 
than on solid principles have deceived the world, and made 
for him a reputation apart from that of his brothers. With 
much less talent than either Napoleon or Lucien, he has a 
touch of romance in his imagination, which he manages to 
combine with complete hardness of heart. Habitual ill 
health blighted his youth, and has added to the harsh mel- 
ancholy of his disposition. I do not know whether, had he 
been left to himself, the ambition so natural to all his family 
would have been developed in him; but he has, at least, 
shown upon several occasions that he considered himself en- 
titled to profit by the chances which circumstances have 
thrown in his way. He has been applauded for wishing to 
govern Holland in the interests of the country, in spite of 
his brother's projects, and his abdication, although it was due 
to a whim rather than to generous feeling, has certainly done 
him honor. It is, after all, the best action of his life. 

Louis Bonaparte is essentially egotistical and suspicious. 
In the course of these Memoirs he will become better known. 

* Lucien Bonaparte died at Viterbo, June 30, 1840. P. R. 


Bonaparte said of him one day, " His feigned virtues give 
me almost as much trouble as Lucien's vices." He has re- 
tired to Rome since the downfall of his family. 


The Marquis de Beauharnais, father of the general who 
was the first husband of Mme. Bonaparte, having been em- 
ployed in a military capacity at Martinique, became attached 
to an aunt of Mme. Bonaparte's, with whom he returned to 
France, and whom he married in his old age. 

This aunt brought her niece, Josephine de la Pagerie, to 
France. She had her educated, and made use of her ascen- 
dancy over her aged husband to marry her niece, at the age 
of fifteen years, to young Beauharnais, her stepson. Al- 
though he married her against his inclination, there is no 
doubt that at one time he was much attached to his wife ; 
for I have seen very loving letters written by him to her 
when he was in garrison, and she preserved them with great 
care. Of this marriage were born Eugene and Hortense. 
When the Revolution began, I think that Beauharnais's love 
for his wife had cooled. At the commencement of the Ter- 
ror M. de Beauharnais was still commanding the French 
armies, and had no longer any relations with his wife. 

I do not know under what circumstances she became ac- 
quainted with certain deputies of the Convention, but she 
had some influence with them ; and, as she was kind-hearted 
and obliging, she used it to do as much good to as many peo- 
ple as possible. From that time her reputation for good 
conduct was very much damaged; but her kindness, her 
grace, and the sweetness of her manners could not be dis- 
puted. She served my father's interests more than once 
with Barrere and Tallien, and owed to this my mother's 
friendship. In 1793 chance placed her in a village on the 
outskirts of Paris, where, like her, we were passing the sum- 
mer. Our near neighborhood led to some intimacy. I re- 
member that Hortense, who was three or four years younger 


than I, used to visit me in my room, and, while amusing her- 
self by examining my little trinkets, she would tell me that 
all her ambition for the future was to be the owner of a simi- 
lar treasure. Unhappy woman ! She has since been laden 
with gold and diamonds, and how has she not groaned under 
the crushing weight of the royal diadem ! 

In those evil days when every one was forced to seek a 
place of safety from the persecution by which all classes of 
society were beset, we lost sight of Mme. de Beauharnais. 
Her husband, being suspected by the Jacobins, had been 
thrown into prison in Paris, and condemned to death by the 
Revolutionary Tribunal. She also was imprisoned, but es- 
caped the guillotine, which preyed on all without distinction. 
Being a friend of the beautiful Mme. Tallien, she was intro- 
duced into the society of the Directory, and was especially 
favored by Barras. Mme. de Beauharnais had very little 
fortune, and her taste for dress and luxury rendered her de- 
pendent on those who could help her to indulge it. With- 
out being precisely pretty, she possessed many personal 
charms. Her features were delicate, her expression was 
sweet; her mouth was very small, and concealed her bad 
teeth ; her complexion was rather dark, but with the help of 
red and white skillfully applied she remedied that defect ; 
her figure was perfect ; her limbs were flexible and delicate ; 
her movements were easy and elegant. La Fontaine's line 
could never have been more fitly applied than to her : 

" Et la grace, plus belle encore que la beaut6." 

She dressed with perfect taste, enhancing the beauty of 
what she wore ; and, with these advantages and the constant 
care bestowed upon her attire, she contrived to avoid being 
eclipsed by the youth and beauty of many of the women by 
whom she was surrounded. To all this, as I have already 
said, she added extreme kindness of heart, a remarkably even 
temper, and great readiness to forget any wrong that had 
been done to her. 


She was not a person of remarkable intellect. A Creole, 
and frivolous, her education had been a good deal neglected ; 
but she recognized her deficiencies, and never made blunders 
in conversation. She possessed true natural tact ; she readily 
found pleasant things to say ; her memory was good a use- 
ful quality for those in high position. Unhappily, she was 
deficient in depth of feeling and elevation of mind. She 
preferred to charm her husband by her beauty, rather than 
the influence of certain virtues. She carried complaisance 
to excess for his sake, and kept her hold on him by conces- 
sions which, perhaps, contributed to increase the contempt 
with which he habitually regarded women. She might have 
taught him some useful lessons; but she feared him, and 
allowed him to dictate to her in everything. She was 
changeable, easy to move and easy to appease, incapable of 
prolonged emotion, of sustained attention, of serious reflec- 
tion; and, although her greatness did not turn her head, 
neither did it educate her. The bent of her character led 
her to console the unhappy ; but she could only dwell on the 
troubles of individuals she did not think of the woes of 
France. The genius of Bonaparte overawed her : she only 
criticised him in what concerned herself personally ; in 
everything else she respected what he called " the force of 
his destiny." He exerted an evil influence over her, for he 
inspired her with contempt for morality, and with a large 
share of his own characteristic suspicion ; and he taught her- 
the art of lying, which each of them practiced with skill and 

It is said that she was the prize of his command of the 
army of Italy ; she has often assured me that at that time 
Bonaparte was really in love with her. She hesitated be- 
tween him, General Hoche, and M. de Caulaincourt, who 
also loved her. Bonaparte prevailed. I know that my 
mother, then living in retirement in the country, was much 
surprised on learning that the widow of M. de Beauharnais 
was about to marry a man so little known as Bonaparte. 


When I questioned her as to what Bonaparte was like in 
his youth, she told me that he was then dreamy, silent, and 
awkward in the society of women, but passionate and fasci- 
nating, although rather an odd person in every way. She 
charged the campaign in Egypt with having changed his 
temper, and developed that petty despotism from which she 
afterward suffered so much. 

I have seen letters from Napoleon to Mme. Bonaparte, 
written at the time of the first Italian campaign. She ac- 
companied him to Italy, but he sometimes left her with the 
rearguard of the army, until a victory had secured the safe- 
ty of the road. These epistles are very singular. The writ- 
ing is almost illegible ; they are ill spelt ; the style is strange 
and confused. But there is in them such a tone of passion- 
ate feeling ; the expressions are so animated, and at the same 
time so poetical ; they breathe a love so different from mere 
" amours," that there is no woman who would not have prized 
such letters. They formed a striking contrast with the grace- 
ful, elegant, and measured style of those of M. de Beauhar- 
nais. How strange it must have been for a woman to find 
herself one of the moving powers of the triumphant march 
of an army, at a time when politics alone governed the ac- 
tions of men ! On the eve of one of his greatest battles, 
Bonaparte wrote : " I am far from you ! It seems to me 
that I am surrounded by the blackest night ; I need the lurid 
light of the thunderbolts which we are about to hurl upon 
our enemies to dispel the darkness into which your absence 
has thrown me. Josephine, you wept when I parted from 
you you wept ! At that thought all my being trembles. 
But calm yourself : "Wurmser shall pay dearly for the tears 
I have seen you shed." And on the morrow "Wurmser was 

The enthusiasm with which General Bonaparte was re- 
ceived in beautiful Italy, the magnificence of the fetes, the 
fame of his victories, the wealth which every officer might 
acquire there, the unbounded luxury in which she lived, 


accustomed Mme. Bonaparte from that time forth to all the 
pomp with which she was afterward surrounded ; and she 
acknowledged that nothing in her life ever equaled the 
emotions of that time, when love came (or seemed to come) 
daily, to lay at her feet a new conquest over a people enrap- 
tured with their conqueror. It is, however, plain from these 
letters that Mme. -Bonaparte, in Ijhe midst of this life of 
triumph, of victory, and of license, gave some cause for 
uneasiness to her victorious husband. His letters, some- 
times sullen and sometimes menacing, reveal the torments 
of jealousy; and they abound in melancholy reflections, 
which betray his weariness of the fleeting delusions of life. 
It may have been that these misunderstandings, which out- 
raged the first very keen feelings Bonaparte had ever ex- 
perienced, had a bad effect upon him, and hardened him by 
degrees. Perhaps he would have been a better man if he 
had been more and better loved. 

When, on his return from this brilliant campaign, the 
conquering general was obliged to exile himself to Egypt, to 
escape from the growing suspicion of the Directory, Mme. 
Bonaparte's position became precarious and difficult. Her 
husband entertained serious doubts of her, and these were 
prompted by Joseph and Lucien, who dreaded the powerful 
influence that she might exercise through her son, who had 
accompanied Bonaparte. Her extravagant tastes led her 
into reckless expense, and she was harassed by debts and 

Before leaving France, Bonaparte had directed her to 
purchase an estate ; and as she wished to live in the neigh- 
borhood of Saint Germain, where her daughter was being 
educated, she selected Malmaison. There we met her again, 
when we were residing for some months at the chateau of 
one of our friends, * at a short distance from Malmaison. 

* Mme. de Vergennes was very intimate with M. Chanorier, a wealthy and 
intelligent man living at Croissy, on the bank of the Seine, and who was one of 
the first to introduce the merino sheep into France. It was from Croissy that 


Mme. Bonaparte, who was naturally unreserved, and even 
indiscreet, had no sooner met my mother again than she 
talked to her very freely about her absent husband, about 
her brothers-in-law in fact, about a host of people who 
were utter strangers to us. Bonaparte was supposed to be 
almost lost to France, and his wife was neglected. My 
mother took pity on her; we showed her some attention, 
which she never forgot. At that time I was seventeen years 
ef age, and I had been married one year. 

It was at Malmaison that Mme. Bonaparte showed us an 
immense quantity of pearls, diamonds, and cameos, which at 
that time constituted the contents of her jewel-case. Even 
at that time it might have figured in a story of the " Arabian 
Nights," and it was destined to receive immense accessions. 
Invaded and grateful Italy had contributed to these riches, 
and the Pope also, as a mark of his appreciation of the re- 
spect with which the conqueror treated him by denying him- 
self the pleasure of planting his flag upon the walls of Rome. 
The reception-rooms at Malmaison were sumptuously deco- 
rated with pictures, statues, and mosaics, the spoils of Italy, 
and each of the generals who figured in the Italian campaign 
exhibited booty of the same kind. 

Although she was surrounded with all these treasures, 
Mme. Bonaparte was often without money to meet her every- 
day expenses ; and, to get out of this difficulty, she trafficked 
in her influence with the people in power at the time, and 
compromised herself by entering into imprudent relations. 
Dreadfully embarrassed, on worse terms than ever with her 
brothers-in-law, supplying too much reason for their accusa- 
tions against her, and no longer counting on the return of 
her husband, she was strongly tempted to give her daughter 
in marriage to the son of Rewbell, a member of the Direc- 
tory ; but Mile, de Beauharnais would not consent, and her 

she and her daughters made a neighborly visit to Malmaison, and resumed with 
Mme. Bonaparte their former intimacy with Mme. de Beauharnais. 


opposition put an end to a project whose execution would 
doubtless have been highly displeasing to Bonaparte. 

Presently a rumor of Bonaparte's arrival at Frej'us arose. 
He came back with his mind full of the evil reports that 
Lucien had repeated to him in his letters. His wife, on hear- 
ing of his disembarkation, set out to join him ; she missed 
him, had to retrace her steps, and returned to the house in 
the Rue Chantereine some hours after his arrival there. She 
descended from her carriage in haste, followed by her son 
and daughter, and ran up the stairs leading to his room ; but 
what was her surprise to find the door locked ! She called to 
Bonaparte, and begged him to open it. He replied through the 
door that it should never again be opened for her. Then she 
wept, fell on her knees, implored him for her sake and that 
of her two children ; but all was profound silence around her, 
and several hours of the night passed over her in this dread- 
ful suspense. At last, however, moved by her sobs and her 
perseverance, Bonaparte opened the door at about four o'clock 
in the morning, and appeared, as Mme. Bonaparte herself 
told me, with a stern countenance, which, however, betrayed 
that he too had been weeping. He bitterly reproached her 
with her conduct, her forgetfulness of him, all the real or 
imaginary sins of which Lucien had accused her, and con- 
cluded by announcing an eternal separation. Then turning 
to Eugene de Beauharnais, who was at that time about twenty 
years old " As for you," he said, " you shall not bear the 
burden of your mother's faults. You shall be always my 
son ; I will keep you with me." 

" No, no, General," replied Eugene ; " I must share the 
ill fortune of my mother, and from this moment I say fare- 
well to you." 

These words shook Bonaparte's resolution. He opened 
his arms to Eugene, weeping ; his wife and Hortense knelt 
at his feet and embraced his knees ; and, soon after, all was 
forgiven. In the explanation that ensued, Mme. Bonaparte 
succeeded in clearing herself from the accusations of her 


brother-in-law ; and Bonaparte, then burning to avenge her, 
sent for Lucien at seven o'clock in the morning, and had him, 
without any forewarning, ushered into the room where the 
husband and wife, entirely reconciled, occupied the same bed. 

From that time Bonaparte desired his wife to break with 
Mme. Tallien and all the society of the Directory. The 18th 
Brumaire completely severed her connection with those indi- 
viduals. She told me that on the eve of that important day 
she observed, with great surprise, that Bonaparte had loaded 
two pistols and placed them beside his bed. On her ques- 
tioning him, he replied that a certain event might happen in 
the night which would render such a precaution necessary. 
Then, without another word, he lay down, and slept soundly 
until the next morning. 

When he became Consul, the gentle and gracious quali- 
ties of his wife, which attracted many persons to his Court 
whom his natural rudeness would have otherwise kept away, 
were of great service to him. To Josephine he intrusted the 
measures to be taken for the return of the emigres. Nearly 
all the " erasures " * passed through the hands of Mme. Bona- 
parte ; she was the first link that united the French nobility 
to the Consular Government. We shall learn more of this 
in the course of these Memoirs. 

Eugene de Beauharnais, born in 1780, passed through all 
the phases of a sometimes stormy and sometimes brilliant 
life, without ever forfeiting his title to general esteem. 
Prince Eugene, sometimes in camp with his father, some- 
times in all the leisure and luxury of his mother's house, 
was, to speak correctly, educated nowhere. His natural in- 
stinct led toward what is right ; the schooling of Bonaparte 
formed but did not pervert him ; the lessons taught him by 
events -all these were his instructors. Mme. Bonaparte was 
incapable of giving sound advice ; and therefore her son, who 
loved her sincerely, perceived very early in his career that 
it was useless to consult her. 

* See Appendix. 


Prince Eugene did not lack personal attractions. His 
figure was graceful ; lie was skilled in all bodily exercises ; 
and he inherited from his father that fine manner of the old 
French gentleman, in which, perhaps, M. de Beauharnais 
himself gave him his earliest lessons. To these advantages 
he added simplicity and kindheartedness ; he was neither 
vain nor presumptuous ; he was sincere without being in- 
discreet, and could be silent when silence was necessary. 
Prince Eugene had not much natural talent ; his imagination 
was not vivid, and his feelings were not keen. He was al- 
ways obedient to his stepfather ; and, although he appre- 
ciated him exactly, and was not mistaken with regard to 
him, he never hesitated to observe the strictest fidelity to 
him, even when it was against his own interests. Never 
once was he surprised into showing any sign of discontent, 
either when the Emperor, while loading his own family with 
honors, seemed to forget him, or when his mother was re- 
pudiated. At the time of the divorce Eugene maintained a 
very dignified attitude. 

Eugene, as colonel of a regiment, was beloved by his sol- 
diers. In Italy he was held in high honor. The sovereigns 
of Europe esteemed him, and the world was well pleased 
that his fortunes have survived those of his family. He had 
the good fortune to marry a charming princess, who never 
ceased to love him, and whom he rendered happy. He pos- 
sessed in perfection those qualities which make the happi- 
ness of home life sweet temper, and that natural cheerful- 
ness which rises above every ill, and was perhaps due to 
the fact that he was never profoundly moved by anything. 
When, however, that kind of indifference toward the inter- 
ests of other people is also displayed in one's own personal 
troubles, it may fairly be called philosophy. 

Hortense, Prince Eugene's younger sister (she was born in 
1783), was, I think, the most unhappy person of our time, 
and the least formed by nature to be so. Cruelly slandered 
by the Bonapartes, who hated her, included in the accusa- 


tions which the public delighted to bring against all who be- 
longed to that family, she was not strong enough to contend 
against such a combination of ills, and to defy the calumnies 
that blighted her life.* 

Mme. Louis Bonaparte, like her mother and brother, was 
not remarkable for intellect ; but, like them, she possessed 
tact and good feeling, and she was more high-minded and 
imaginative than they. Left to herself in her youth, she es- 
caped the contagion of the dangerous example of evil. At 
Mme. Campan's select and elegant boarding-school she ac- 
quired accomplishments rather than education. While she 
was young, a brilliant complexion, beautiful hair, and a fine 
figure rendered her agreeable to look upon; but she lost 
her teeth early, and illness and sorrow altered her features. 
Her natural instincts were good ; but, being absolutely igno- 
rant of the world and the usages of society, and entirely given 
up to ideal notions drawn from a sphere which she had cre- 
ated for herself, she was unable to rule her life by those 
social laws which do not indeed preserve the virtue of 
women, but which procure them support when they are ac- 
cused, without which it is impossible to pass through the 

* There are few things in these Memoirs which will be read with greater 
surprise than the pages relating to Queen Hortense. My grandmother lived and 
died in the conviction that in speaking thus she was strictly adhering to the 
truth. The contrary opinion has, however, prevailed ; and it has been confirmed 
by the conduct of her son, Napoleon III., who rendered marked honors to the 
Duke de Morny. Very likely that, as often happens, all was true according to 
the epoch in youth, innocence, and sorrow ; afterward, consolation. It is un- 
necessary to say that on this point I preserve the exact text of the Memoirs, as 
they were written by the hand of their author. I have only thought it right to 
suppress comments of an opposite nature on certain ladies of the Court. The 
reader will, perhaps, be surprised to find no mention in these portraits of the 
family of either Queen Caroline or Princess Pauline Bonaparte. I leave out 
certain matters in relation to them which have no bearing on the Emperor him- 
self. My father particularly desired that the text of his mother's Memoirs 
should be scrupulously respected. It seemed to me, however, that on this point 
I might fairly depart from the rules of strict editing. Habits, tastes, customs 
become modified by time, and much that seemed natural to a clever woman in 
high life at that period would give scandal in our more punctilious day. 


world, and which the approbation of conscience can not re- 
place. It is not sufficient to lead a good life in order to 
appear virtuous; women must also obey those rules which 
society has made. Mme. Louis, who was placed in circum- 
stances of extreme difficulty, never had a guide ; she under- 
stood her mother, and could not venture to place any confi- 
dence in her. As she held firmly to the principles, or rather 
to the sentiments, her imagination had created, she was at 
first very much surprised at the lapses from morality in 
which she detected the women by whom she was surrounded, 
and was still more surprised when she found that these faults 
were not always the result of love. Her marriage cast her 
on the mercy of the most tyrannical of husbands ; she be- 
came the resigned and dejected victim of ceaseless and un- 
remitting persecution, and sank under the weight of her sor- 
row. She yielded to it without daring to complain, and it 
was not until she was on the point of death that the truth 
became known. I knew Mme. Louis Bonaparte very inti- 
mately, and was acquainted with all the secrets of her do- 
mestic life. I have always believed her to be the purest, as 
she was the most unfortunate, of women. 

Her only consolation was in her tender love for her 
brother ; she rejoiced in his happiness, his success, his amia- 
ble temper. How many times have I heard her say, " I only 
live in Eugene's life ! " 

She declined to marry Kewbell's son, and this reasonable 
refusal was the result of one of the errors of her imagination. 
From her earliest youth she had persuaded herself that a 
woman, if she would be virtuous and happy, should marry 
no man unless she loved him passionately. Afterward, when 
her mother wished her to marry the Comte de Mun, now a 
peer of France, she again refused to obey her. 

M. de Mun had emigrated; Mme. Bonaparte obtained 
permission for his return. He came back to a considerable 
fortune, and asked for the hand of Mile, de Beauharnais in 
marriage. Bonaparte, then First Consul, had little liking 


for this union. Mme. Bonaparte would, however, have had 
her own way about it, only for the obstinate resistance of 
her daughter. Some one said before her that M. de Mun 
had been, while in Germany, in love with Mme. de Stael. 
That celebrated woman was in the imagination of the young 
girl a sort of monster, whom it was impossible to know with- 
out scandal and without taint. M. de Mun became odious to 
her, and thus he missed a great match and the terrible down- 
fall that was to ensue. It was a strange accident of destiny, 
thus to have missed being a prince, perhaps a king, and then 

A little while after, Duroc, then one of the Consul's 
aides-de-camp, and in high favor with him, fell in love with 
Hortense. She was not insensible to his passion, and thought 
she had at length found that other half of her being which 
she sought for. Bonaparte was in favor of the marriage ; 
but this time Mme. Bonaparte was inflexible. " My daugh- 
ter," she said, " must marry a gentleman or a Bonaparte." 
Then Louis was proposed. He had no liking for Hortense, 
he detested the Beauharnais family, and despised his sister-in- 
law : but, as he was taciturn, he was supposed to be amiable ; 
as he was severe in his judgments, he was supposed to be a 
good man. Mme. Louis has since told me that when she 
first heard of this arrangement she suffered terribly. Not 
only was she forbidden to think of the man she loved, but 
she was also to be given to another, whom she instinctively 
distrusted. However, as this marriage was in accordance 
with her mother's wishes, as it would cement the family ties, 
and might advance her brother's interests, she yielded her- 
self a submissive victim ; nay, she did even more. Her im- 
agination was full of the duties imposed on her ; she deter- 
mined to make every sort of sacrifice to the wishes of a hus- 
band whom she had the misfortune not to love. Too sincere 
and too reserved to feign sentiments she did not feel, she was 
gentle, submissive, full of deference, and more anxious per- 
haps to please him than if she had loved him. The false and 


suspicious disposition of Louis Bonaparte led him to regard 
the gentle deference of his wife as affectation and coquetry. 
" She practices on me," he said, " to deceive me." He be- 
lieved that her conduct was dictated by the counsels of her 
experienced mother ; he repelled the efforts she made to 
please him, and treated her with rude contempt. Nor was 
this all. He actually divulged to Mme. Louis all the accu- 
sations which had been brought against her mother, and, 
after having gone as far in that direction as he could go, 
he signified his pleasure that confidential relations between 
his wife and her mother should cease. He added, "You 
are now a Bonaparte. Our interests should be yours ; 
those of your own family no longer concern you." He ac- 
companied this cruel notification with insulting threats, and 
a coarse expression of his disdainful opinion of women ; he 
enumerated the precautions he meant to take in order, as he 
said, to escape the common fate of all husbands, and declared 
that he would not be the dupe either of her attempts to es- 
cape his vigilance or of the tricks of pretended docility by 
which she might hope to win him over. 

The effect of such a declaration upon a young woman 
full of fancies may easily be conceived. She conducted 
herself, however, as an obedient wife, and for many years 
only her sadness and her failing health betrayed her suffer- 
ings. Her husband, who was hard and capricious, and, like 
all the Bonapartes, selfish worn and embittered besides by 
a painful disease which he had contracted during the Egyp- 
tian campaign set no limit to his exactions. As he was 
afraid of his brother, while at the same time he wanted to 
keep his wife away from Saint Cloud, he ordered her to say 
it was by her own wish that she seldom went thither, and 
forbade her to remain there a single night, no matter how 
much her mother might press her to do so. Mme. Louis 
became pregnant very soon after her marriage. The Bona- 
partes and Mme. Murat, who were displeased at this mar- 
riage, because, as Joseph's children were girls, they foresaw 


that a son of Louis, who would also be a grandson of Mme. 
Bonaparte, would be the object of natural interest, spread 
the outrageous report that this pregnancy was the result of 
an intimacy between the First Consul and his stepdaughter, 
with the connivance of Josephine herself. The public was 
quite ready to believe this scandalous falsehood, and Mme. 
Murat repeated it to Louis, who, whether he believed it or 
not, made it a pretext for every kind of conjugal tyranny. 
The narrative of his cruelty to his wife would lead me too 
far at present ; I shall return to the subject hereafter. Her 
servants were employed as spies upon her ; the most trifling 
notes addressed to or written by her were opened ; every 
friendship was prohibited; Louis was jealous even of Eu- 
gene. Scenes of violence were frequent; nothing was 
spared her. Bonaparte was not slow to perceive this state 
of affairs, but he was grateful to Mme. Louis for her silence, 
which put him at his ease, and exempted him from the ne- 
cessity of interference. He, who never esteemed women, 
always professed positive veneration for Hortense, and the 
manner in which he spoke of and acted toward her is a for- 
mal contradiction of the accusations which were brought 
against her. In her presence his language was always care- 
ful and decent. He often appealed to hef to arbitrate be- 
tween his wife and himself, and he took rebukes from her 
that he would not have listened to patiently from any one 
else. " Hortense," he said more than once, " forces me to 
believe in virtue." 



(1S02-1803 ) 

Family affairs My first evening at Saint Cloud Grontfrtu Moreau M. de Re*musat 
is made Prefect, and I, Lady of the Palace Habile of the First Consul and of 
Mme. Bonaparte M. de Talleyrand The iamily of the First Consul Miles. 
Georges and Duchesnois Mme. Bonaparce v s jealousy. 

NOTWITHSTANDING the date of the year in which I under- 
take this narrative, I shall not seek to excuse the motives 
which led my husband to attach himself to the person of 
Bonaparte, but shall simply explain them. In political 
matters justifications are worth nothing. Certain persons, 
having returned to France only three years ago, or having 
taken no part in public affairs before that epoch, have pro- 
nounced a sort of anathema against those among our fellow 
citizens who for twenty years have not held completely 
aloof from passing events. If it be represented to them 
that nobody pretends to pronounce whether they were right 
or wrong to indulge in their long sleep, and that they are 
merely asked to remain equally neutral on a similar question, 
they reject such a proposition with all the strength of their 
present position of vantage ; they deal out unsparing and 
most ungenerous blame, for there is now no risk in under- 
taking the duties on which they pride themselves. And 
yet, when a revolution is in progress, who can flatter himself 
that he has always adopted the right course ? Who among 
us has not been influenced by circumstances ? Who, indeed, 


can venture to throw the first stone, without fear lest it re- 
coil upon himself ? Citizens of the same country, all more 
or less hurt by the blows they have given and received, 
ought to spare each other they are more closely bound to- 
gether than they think ; and when a Frenchman mercilessly 
runs down another Frenchman, let him take care he is put- 
ting weapons to use against them both into the hands of the 

"Not the least evil of troubled times is that bitter spirit of 
criticism which produces mistrust, and perhaps contempt, of 
what is called public opinion. The tumult of passion enables 
every one to defy it. Men live for the most part so much 
outside of themselves, that they have few opportunities of con- 
sulting their conscience. In peaceful times, and for common 
ordinary actions, the judgments of the world replace it well 
enough; but how is it possible to submit to them, when 
they are ready to deal death to those who would bow to 
them ? It is safest, then, to rely on that conscience which 
one can never question with impunity. Neither my hus- 
band's conscience nor my own reproaches him or me. The 
entire loss of his fortune, the experience of facts, the march 
of events, a moderate and legitimate desire for easier circum- 
stances, led M. de Remusat to seek a place of some kind in 
1802. To profit by the repose that Bonaparte had given to 
France, and to rely on the hopes he inspired, was, no doubt, 
to deceive ourselves, but we did so in common with all the 
rest of the world. 

Unerring prevision is given to very few ; and if, after 
his second marriage, Bonaparte had maintained peace, and 
had employed that portion of his army which he did not 
disband to line our frontiers, who is there that would have 
dared to doubt the duration of his power and the strength 
of his rights ? At that time both his power and his rights 
seemed to have acquired the force of legitimacy. Bonaparte 
reigned over France with the consent of France. That fact 
only blind hatred or foolish pride can now attempt to deny. 


He reigned for our misfortune and for our glory : the alli- 
ance of those two words is, in the present state of society, 
more natural than it seems, at least when military glory is in 
question. When he became Consul, people breathed freely. 
At first he won public confidence ; when, afterward, causes 
of disquiet arose, the country was already committed to him. 
At last he frightened all the minds who had believed in him, 
and led true citizens to desire his fall, even at the risk of loss 
to themselves. This is the history of M. de Kemusat and 
myself ; there is nothing humiliating in it. We too were re- 
lieved and confident when the country had breathing space, 
and afterward we desired its deliverance before all things. 

]$To one will ever know what I suffered during the later 
years of Bonaparte's tyranny. It would be impossible for 
me to describe the absolute sincerity with which I longed 
for the return of the King, who would, as I firmly believed, 
restore peace and liberty to us. I foresaw all my personal 
losses ; and M. de Remusat foresaw them even more clearly 
than I did. That which we desired would ruin the fortune 
of our children. But the loss of that fortune, which we 
could have preserved only by the sacrifice of our convictions, 
did not cost us a regret. The ills of France cried too loud 
then shame to those who would not listen to them ! We 
served Bonaparte, we even loved and admired him ; and it 
costs me nothing to make this avowal. It seems to me it is 
never painful to avow a genuine feeling. I am not at all 
embarrassed because the opinions I held at one time are op- 
posed to those which I held at another ; I am not incapable 
of being mistaken. I know what I have felt, and I have 
always felt it sincerely ; that is sufficient for God, for my 
son, for my friends, for myself. 

My present task is, however, a difficult one, for I must 
go back in search of a number of impressions which were 
strong and vivid when I received them, but which now, like 
ruined buildings devastated by fire, have no longer any con- 
nection one with another. 


At the commencement of these Memoirs I shall pass as 
briefly as possible over all that is merely personal to our- 
selves, up to the time of our introduction to the Court of 
Bonaparte ; afterward I shall perhaps revert to still earlier 
recollections. A woman can not be expected to relate the 
political life of Bonaparte. If he was so reserved with those 
who surrounded him that persons in the next room to him 
were often ignorant of events which they would indeed learn 
by going into Paris, but could only comprehend fully by 
transporting themselves out of France, how much more im- 
possible would it have been for me, young as I was when I 
made my entry into Saint Cloud, and during the first years 
that I lived there, to do more than seize upon isolated facts 
at long intervals of time ? I shall record what I saw, or 
thought I saw, and will do my best to make my narrative as 
accurate as it is sincere. 

I was twenty-two years old when I became lady-in-waiting 
to Mine. Bonaparte. I was married at sixteen years of age, 
and had previously been perfectly happy in a quiet life, full 
of home affections. The convulsions of the Revolution, the 
execution of my father in 1794, the loss of our fortune, and 
my mother's love of retirement, kept me out of the gay 
world, of which I knew and desired to know nothing. I 
was suddenly taken from this peaceful solitude to act a 
part upon the stage of history ; and, without having passed 
through the intermediate stage of society, I was much 
affected by so abrupt a transition, and my character has 
never lost the impression it then received. I dearly loved 
my husband and my mother, and in their society I had been 
accustomed to follow the impulses of my feelings. In the 
Bonaparte household I interested myself only in what moved 
me strongly. I never in my life could occupy myself with 
the trifles of what is called the great world. 

My mother had brought me up most carefully ; my edu- 
cation was finished under the superintendence of my husband, 
who was a highly cultivated man, and older than I by sixteen 


years. I was naturally grave, a tendency which in women is 
always allied to enthusiasm. Thus, during the early part of 
my residence with Mme. Bonaparte and her husband, I was 
full of the sentiments which I considered due to them. Their 
well-known characters, and what I have already related of 
their domestic life, rendered this a sure preparation for many 
mistakes, and certainly I did not fail to make them. 

I have already mentioned our friendship with Mme. 
Bonaparte during the expedition to Egypt. After that we 
lost sight of her, until the time when my mother, having ar- 
ranged a marriage for my sister with a relative of ours,* who 
had returned secretly, but was still included in the list of the 
proscribed, addressed herself to Mme. Bonaparte in order to 
obtain his " erasure." f The matter was readily arranged. 
Mme. Bonaparte, who was then endeavoring, with much tact 
and kindness, to win over persons of a certain class who still 
held aloof from her husband, begged that my mother and M. 
de Remusat would visit her one evening, in order to return 
thanks to the First Consul. It was not possible to refuse, 
and accordingly, one evening, shortly after Bonaparte had 
taken up his abode there, we went to the Tuileries. J His 
wife told me afterward that on the first night of their sojourn 
in the palace, he said to her, laughing, " Come, little Creole, 
get into the bed of your masters." 

"We found Bonaparte in the great drawing-room on the 
ground floor ; he was seated on a sofa. Beside him I saw 
General Moreau, with whom he appeared to be in close con- 
versation. At that period they were still trying to get on 

* M. Charles de Ganay, son of a sister of M. Charles Gravier de Yergcnncs, 
and first cousin of the author of these Memoirs. He was a deputy and colonel 
of the Royal Guard under the Restoration. I do not know what prevented his 
marriage with Mile. Alix de Vergennes, who shortly after married General Nan- 
souty. The friendship between the two branches of the family was not disturbed 
by this affair, and it is happily perpetuated. P. R. 

f See Appendix. 

t It was on the 19th of February, 1800 (30th Pluviose, year 8), that the First 
Consul took possession of the Tuileries. P. B. 


together. A very amiable speech of Bonaparte's, of a grace- 
ful kind unusual with him, was much talked of. He had 
had a superb pair of pistols made, with the names of all 
Moreau's battles engraved on the handles in gold letters. 
" You must excuse their not being more richly ornamented," 
said Bonaparte, presenting them to him ; " the names of your 
victories took up all the space." 

There were in the drawing-room ministers, generals, and 
ladies. Among the latter, almost all young and pretty, were 
Mme. Louis Bonaparte ; * Mme. Murat, who was recently 
married, and who struck me as very charming ; and Mme. 
Marat, who was paying her wedding visit, and was at that 
time perfectly beautiful. Mme. Bonaparte received her 
company with perfect grace ; she was dressed tastefully in a 
revived antique style which was the fashion of the day. 
Artists had at that time a good deal of influence on the cus- 
toms of society. 

Bonaparte rose when we courtesied to him, and after a 
few vague words reseated himself, and took no more notice 
of the ladies who were in the room. I confess that, on this 
occasion, I was less occupied with him than with the luxury, 
the elegance, and the magnificence on which my eyes rested 
for the first time. 

From that time forth we made occasional visits to the 
Tuileries ; and after a while it was suggested to us, and we 
took to the idea, that M. de Remusat might fill some post, 
which would restore us to the comfort of which the loss of 
our fortune had deprived us. M. de Remusat, having been 
a magistrate before the Revolution, would have preferred oc- 
cupation of a legal character. He would not grieve me by 
separating me from my mother and taking me away from 
Paris, and therefore he was disposed to ask for a place in the 
Council of State, and to avoid prefectures. But then we 
really knew nothing of the structure and composition of the 

* Hortense de Beauharnais had married Louis Bonaparte on the 4th of Janu- 
ary, 1802. 


Government. My mother had mentioned our position to 
Mme. Bonaparte, who had taken a liking to me, and was 
also pleased with my husband's manners, and it occurred to 
her that she might place us near herself. Just at this time 
my sister, who had not married the cousin whom I have men- 
tioned, married M. de Nansouty, a general of brigade, the 
nephew of Mme. de Montesson, and a man very much es- 
teemed in the army and in society. This marriage strength- 
ened our connection with the Consular Government, and a 
month afterward Mme. Bonaparte told my mother that she 
hoped before long M. de Remusat would be made a Prefect 
of the Palace. I will pass over in silence the sentiments 
with which this news was received in the family. For my 
own part, I was exceedingly frightened. M. de Remusat 
was resigned rather than pleased ; and, as he is a particularly 
conscientious man, he applied himself to all the minute de- 
tails of his new occupation immediately after his nomination, 
which soon followed. Shortly afterward I received the fol- 
lowing letter from General Duroc, Governor of the Palace : 

" MADAME : The First Consul has nominated you to at- 
tend upon Mme. Bonaparte, in doing the honors of the pal- 
ace. His personal knowledge of your character and of your 
principles satisfies him that you will acquit yourself of this 
duty with the politeness which distinguishes French ladies, 
and with dignity such as the Government requires. I am 
happy to have been made the medium of announcing to you 
this mark of his esteem and confidence. 

" Receive, madame, my respectful homage." 

Thus did we find ourselves installed at this singular Court. 
Although Bonaparte would have been angry if any one had 
seemed to doubt the sincerity of his utterances, which were 
at this period entirely republican, he introduced some novel- 
ty into his manner of life every day, which tended to give 
the place of his abode more and more resemblance to the 


palace of a sovereign. He liked display, provided it did not 
interfere with his own particular habits ; therefore he laid 
the weight of ceremonial on those who surrounded him. He 
believed also that the French are attracted by the glitter of 
external pomp. He was very simple in his own attire, but 
he required his officers to wear magnificent uniforms. He 
had already established a marked distance between himself 
and the two other Consuls ; and just as, although he used the 
preamble, "By order of the Consuls," etc., in the acts of 
government, his own signature only was placed at the end, 
so he held his court alone, either at the Tuileries or at Saint 
Cloud ; he received the ambassadors with the ceremonial used 
by kings, and always appeared in public attended by a nu- 
merous guard, while he allowed his colleagues only two 
grenadiers before their carriages; and finally he began to 
give his wife rank in the state. 

At first we found ourselves in a somewhat difficult posi- 
tion, which, nevertheless, had its advantages. Military glory 
and the rights it confers were all-in-all to the generals and 
aides-de-camp who surrounded Bonaparte. They seemed to 
think that every distinction belonged exclusively to them. 
The Consul, however, who liked conquest of all kinds, and 
whose design was to gain over to himself all classes of society, 
made his Court pleasant to persons belonging to other profes- 
sions. Besides this, M. de Remusat, who was a man of in- 
tellect, of remarkable learning, and superior to his colleagues 
in conversational powers, was soon distinguished by his mas- 
ter, who was quick at discovering qualities which might be 
useful to himself. Bonaparte was glad that persons in his 
service should know, for his purposes, things of which he 
was ignorant. He found that my husband knew all about 
certain customs which he wanted to reestablish, and was a 
safe authority on matters of etiquette and the habits of good 
society. He briefly indicated his projects, was at once un- 
derstood, and as promptly obeyed. This unusual manner of 
pleasing him at first gave some offense to the military men. 


They foresaw that they would no longer be the only persons 
in favor, and that they would be required to alter the rough 
manners which did well enough for camps and fields of bat- 
tle ; therefore our presence displeased them. For my own 
part, although I was so young, I had more ease of manner 
than their wives. Most of my companions were ignorant of 
the world, timid and silent, and they were either shy or 
frightened in the presence of the First Consul. As for me, 
I was, as I have already said, very quick and lively, easily 
moved by novelty, fond of intellectual pleasures, interested 
in observing so many persons, all unknown to me ; and I 
found favor with my new sovereign, because, as I have said 
elsewhere, I took pleasure in listening to him. And then, 
Mme. Bonaparte liked me, because she herself had chosen 
me ; she was pleased that she had been able to attach a per- 
son of good family to herself, and that through the medium 
of my mother, whom she respected highly. She trusted me, 
and I was attached to her, so that before long she confided all 
her secrets to me, and I received them with discretion. Al- 
though I might have been her daughter,* I was often able to 
give her good advice, because the habits of a secluded and 
strict life make one take a serious view of things. My hus- 
band and I were soon placed in so prominent a position that 
we had to secure forgiveness for it. We obtained that posi- 
tion almost entirely by preserving our simple ways, by keep- 
ing within the bounds of politeness, and by avoiding every- 
thing which might lead to the suspicion that we wanted to 
trade on the favor we were in. 

M. de Kemusat lived in a simple and kindly fashion in 
the midst of this warlike Court. As for me, I was fortu- 
nate enough to hold my own without offense, and I put for- 
ward no pretension distasteful to other women. The greater 

* The Empress Josephine was born at Martinique in 1763. She married M. 
de Beauharnais in 1779, and separated from him in 1783. After the death of 
her husband she was married (civilly) to General Bonaparte, on the 9th of 
March, 1796. She died on the 29th of May, 1814. P. K. 


number of my companions were much handsomer than I 
some of them were very beautiful ; and they were all su- 
perbly dressed. My face, which had no beauty but that of 
youth, and the habitual simplicity of my attire, satisfied 
them that in several ways they were superior to me ; and it 
soon seemed as if we had made a tacit compact that they 
should charm the eyes of the First Consul when we were in 
his presence, and that I should endeavor, as far as lay in my 
power, to interest his mind. As I have already said, to do 
that one had only to be a good listener. 

Political ideas rarely enter into the head of a woman at 
twenty-two. I was at that time quite without any kind of 
party spirit. I never reasoned on the greater or less right 
which Bonaparte had to the power of which every one de- 
clared that he made a good use. M. de Remusat, who be- 
lieved in him, as did nearly the whole of France, was full of 
the hopes which at that time seemed to be well founded. 
All classes, outraged and disgusted by the horrors of the 
Revolution, and grateful to the Consular Government which 
preserved us from the Jacobite reaction, looked upon its 
coming into power as a new era for the country. The trials 
of liberty that had been made over and over again had in- 
spired a very natural, though not very reasonable, aversion 
to it ; for, in truth, liberty always disappeared when its name 
was used merely to vary successive species of tyranny. Gen- 
erally speaking, nobody in France wanted anything except 
quiet, the right to free exercise of the intellect, the cultiva- 
tion of private virtues, and the reparation by degrees of 
those losses of fortune which were common to all. When I 
remember all the dreams which I cherished at that time, the 
recollection makes me sick at heart. I regret those fancies, 
as one regrets the bright thoughts of ihe springtime of life 
of that time when, to use a simile familiar to Bonaparte 
himself, one looks at all things through a gilded veil which 
makes them bright and sparkling. " Little by little" said 
he, " this veil thickens as we advance in life, until all is 


nearly Hack." Alas ! lie himself soon stained with blood 
that gilded veil through which France had gladly contem- 
plated him. 

It was in the autumn of 1802 that I established myself 
for the first time at Saint Cloud, where the First Consul 
then was. There were four ladies, and we each passed a 
week in succession in attendance on Mme. Bonaparte. The 
service, as it was called, of the prefects of the palace, of the 
generals of the guard, and of the aides-de-camp, was con- 
ducted in the same way. Duroc, the Governor of the Pal- 
ace, lived at Saint Cloud ; he kept the household in perfect 
order ; we dined with him. The First Consul took his meals 
alone with his wife. Twice a week he invited some mem- 
bers of the Government ; once a month he gave a great din- 
ner to a hundred guests at the Tuileries, in the Gallery of 
Diana ; after these dinners he received every one who held 
an important post or rank, either military or civil, and also 
foreigners of note. During the winter of 1803 we were 
still at peace with England. A great number of English 
people came to Paris, and as we were not accustomed to see- 
ing them, they excited great curiosity. 

At these brilliant receptions there was a great display of 
luxury. Bonaparte liked women to dress well, and, either 
from policy or from taste, he encouraged his wife and sisters 
to do so. Mme. Bonaparte and Mmes. Bacciochi and Murat 
(Mme. Leclerc, afterward Princess Pauline, was at Saint 
Domingo in 1802) were always magnificently attired. Cos- 
tumes were given to the different corps ; the uniforms were 
rich ; and this pomp, coming as it did after a period in which 
the affectation of squalor had been combined with that of 
extravagant civisme, seemed to be an additional guarantee 
against the . return of that fatal regime which was still re- 
membered with dread. 

Bonaparte's costume at this period is worthy of record. 
On ordinary days he wore one of the uniforms of his guard ; 
but he had decreed, for himself and his two colleagues, that 


on all occasions of grand ceremonial each should wear a red 
coat, made in winter in velvet, in summer of some other 
material, and embroidered in gold. The two Consuls, Cam- 
baceres and Lebrun, elderly, powdered, and well set up, 
wore this gorgeous coat, with lace, ruffles, and a sword, after 
the old fashion of full dress ; but Bonaparte, who detested 
all such adornments, got rid of them as much as possible. 
His hair was cut short, smoothed down, and generally ill 
arranged. With his crimson-and-gold coat he would wear a 
black cravat, a lace frill to his shirt, but no sleeve ruffles. 
Sometimes he wore a white vest embroidered in silver, but 
more frequently his uniform waistcoat, his uniform sword, 
breeches, silk stockings, and boots. This extraordinary cos- 
tume and his small stature gave him the oddest possible 
appearance, which, however, no one ventured to ridicule. 
When he became Emperor, he wore a richly laced coat, with 
a short cloak and a plumed hat ; and this costume became 
him very well. He also wore a magnificent collar of the 
Order of the Legion of Honor, in diamonds, on state occa- 
sions; but on ordinary occasions he wore only the silver 

On the eve of his coronation, the marshals he had newly 
created a few months before came, to pay him a visit, all 
gorgeously arrayed. The splendor of their costume, in 
k contrast with his simple uniform, made him smile. I was 
standing at a little distance from him, and as he saw that I 
smiled also, he said to me, in a low tone, "It is not every one 
who has the right to be plainly dressed." Presently the 
marshals of the army began disputing among themselves 
about the great question of precedence. Their pretensions 
were very well founded, and each enumerated his victories. 
Bonaparte, while listening to them, again glanced at me. " I 
think," said I, " you must have stamped your foot on France, 
and said, < Let all the vanities arise from the soil.' " " That 
is true," he replied ; "but it is fortunate that the French are 
to be ruled through their vanity." 


During the first months of my sojourn at Saint Cloud in 
the winter, and at Paris, my life was very pleasant. In the 
morning at eight o'clock Bonaparte left his wife's room and 
Went to his study. When we were in Paris he again went 
down to her apartments to breakfast; at Saint Cloud he 
breakfasted alone, generally on the terrace. While at break- 
fast he received artists and actors, and talked to them freely 
and pleasantly. Afterward he devoted himself to public 
affairs until six o'clock. Mme. Bonaparte remained at home 
during the morning, receiving an immense number of visit- 
ors, chiefly women. Among these would be some whose 
husbands belonged to the Government, and some (these were 
called de Vcvncien regime) who did not wish to have, or to 
appear to have, relations with the First Consul, but who 
solicited, through his wife, " erasures " or restitutions. Mme. 
Bonaparte received them all with perfect grace. She prom- 
ised everything, and sent every one away well pleased. The 
petitions were put aside and lost sometimes, but then they 
brought fresh ones, and she seemed never tired of listening. * 

* My father, born in 1797, was very young at this time. He had, however, 
a distinct recollection of a visit which he paid to the palace with his mother, 
and he writes in a note respecting it : 

" On Sunday I was taken to the Tuileries, and allowed to look on the review of 
the troops in the Carrousel from the ladies'-maids' window. A large drawing 
by Isabey, which has been engraved, exactly reproduces all that was interesting 
in that spectacle. One day, after the parade, my mother came for me (I think she 
had accompanied Mme. Bonaparte into the court of the Tuileries), and took me 
up a staircase full of soldiers, at whom I stared hard. One of them, who was 
coming down, spoke to her ; he wore an infantry uniform. ' Who is that ? ' I 
asked, when he had passed. He was Louis Bonaparte. Then I saw a young 
man going up stairs, in the well-known uniform of the Guides. His name I did 
not need to ask. Children in those days knew the insignia of every rank and 
corps in the army, and who did not know that Eugene de Beauharnais was 
Colonel of the Guides ? At last we reached Mme. Bonaparte's drawing-room. 
At first there was no one there but herself, one or two ladies, and my father 
wearing his red coat embroidered in silver. I was probably kissed perhaps 
they thought me grown ; then no one noticed me any further. Soon an officer 
of the Consul's guard entered. He was short, thin, and carried himself badly, 
or at least carelessly. I was sufficiently drilled in etiquette to observe that he 


We dined at six in Paris ; at Saint Cloud we went out to 
drive at that hour the Consul alone in a caleche with his 
wife, we in other carriages. Bonaparte's brother and sisters 
and Eugene de Beauharnais might come to dine with him 
whenever they wished to do so. Sometimes Mme. Louis 
came ; but she never slept at Saint Cloud. The jealousy of 
Louis Bonaparte, and his extreme suspicion, had already 
made her shy and melancholy. Once or twice a week the 
little Napoleon (who afterward died in Holland) was sent to 
Saint Cloud. Bonaparte seemed to love that child ; he built 
hopes for the future upon him. Perhaps it was only on ac- 
count of those hopes that he noticed him ; for M. de Talley- 
rand has told me that, when the news of his nephew's death 
reached Berlin, Bonaparte, who was about to appear in pub- 
lic, was so little affected that M. de Talleyrand said, "You 
forget that a death has occurred in your family, and that you 
ought to look serious." " I do not amuse myself," replied 
Bonaparte, " by thinking of dead people." 

It would be curious to compare this frank utterance with 
the fine speech of M. de Fontanes, who, having to deliver an 
address upon the depositing of the Prussian flags in great 
pomp at the Invalides, dwelt pathetically upon the majestic 
grief of a conqueror who turned from the splendor of his vic- 
tories to shed tears over the death of a child.* 

moved about a great deal, and made rather free. Among other things, I was 
surprised to see him sit on the arm of a chair. From thence he spoke, across a 
considerable distance, to my mother. We were in front of him, and I remarked 
his thin, almost wan face, with its brown and yellowish tints. We drew near 
him while he spoke. When I was within his reach, he noticed me ; he took me by 
my two ears and pulled them rather roughly. He hurt me, and, had I not been 
in a palace, I should have cried. Then, turning to my father, * Is .he learning 
mathematics ? ' he said. Soon I was taken away. ' Who is that soldier ? ' I 
asked my mother. 'That soldier is the First Consul.' " 

Such was my father's introduction to the life of courts. He saw the Em- 
peror only once more, and under similar circumstances. P. R. 

* The following letters were written by the Emperor on the occasion of the 
death of this child, in May, 1807. He was at Finkestein, and he wrote to the 
Empress Josephine : 


After the Consul had dined, we were told we might go 
upstairs again. The conversation was prolonged, according 
as he was in a good or a bad humor. He would go away after 
a while, and in general we did not see him again. He re- 
turned to work, gave some particular audience or received 
one of the ministers, and retired early. Mme. Bonaparte 
played at cards in the evening. Between ten and eleven 
o'clock she would be told, " Madame, the First Consul has 
gone to his room," and then she would dismiss us for the 

She and every one about her were very reserved respect- 
ing public affairs. Duroc, Maret (then Secretary of State), 
and the private secretaries were all impenetrable. Most of 
the soldiers, to avoid talking, as I believe, abstained from 
thinking ; in that kind of life there was not much wear and 
tear of the mind. 

On my arrival at Court, I was quite ignorant of the more 
or less dread that Bonaparte inspired in those who had known 
him for some time, and I was less embarrassed in his pres- 
ence than the others ; and I did not think myself bound to 
adopt the system of monosyllables religiously, and perhaps 
prudently, adopted by all the household. This, however, ex- 

"I know how much the death of poor Napoleon grieves you; you can 
comprehend the pain I feel. I wish I were near you, that you might be mod- 
erate and reasonable in your grief. You have had the happiness never to lose a 
child ; but that loss is one of the conditions and the penalties attached to our 
miserable human destiny. Let me hear that you have been reasonable, and that 
you are well, if you would not increase my trouble. Adieu, my love." 

Some days later (the 20th of May) he wrote to the Queen of Holland : " My 
daughter, all that I hear from the Hague proves to me that you are not reason- 
ble. However legitimate may be your grief, it ought to have limits. Do not 
ruin your health. Take some recreation, and learn that life is strewn with so 
many trials, and may be the cause of so many evils, that death is not the worst 
one of all." He wrote the same day to M. Fouche : " I have felt the loss of lit- 
tle Napoleon very much. I could have wished that his father and mother had 
received from nature as much courage as I have to endure all the evils of life. 
But they are young, and they have reflected less on the fragility of all things 
here below." P. R. 


posed me to ridicule in a way of which I was unconscious at 
first, which afterward amused me, but which in the end I 
had to avoid. 

One evening Bonaparte was praising the ability of the 
elder M. Portalis, who was then working at the Civil Code, 
and M. de Eemusat said M. Portalis had profited by the study 
of Montesquieu in particular, adding that he had read and 
learned Montesquieu as one learns the catechism. Bonaparte, 
turning to one of my companions, said to her, laughing, " I 
would bet something that you do not know what this Mon- 
tesquieu is." "Pardon me," she replied, "everybody has 
read < Le Temple de Guide.' " At thifr Bonaparte went off 
into a fit of laughter, and I could not help smiling. He 
looked at me and said, "And you, madame?" I replied 
simply that I was not acquainted with "Le Temple de 
Guide," but had read " Considerations sur les Eomains," and 
that I thought neither the one nor the other work was the 
catechism to which M. de Remusat alluded. " Diable ! " 
said Bonaparte, " you are a savante ! " This epithet discon- 
certed me, for I felt that it would stick. A minute after, 
Mme. Bonaparte began to talk of a tragedy (I do not know 
what it was) which was then being performed. On this the 
First Consul passed the living authors in review, and spoke 
of Ducis, whose style he did not admire. He deplored the 
mediocrity of our tragic poets, ajid said that, above every- 
thing in the world, he should like to recompense the author 
of a fine tragedy. I ventured to say that Ducis had spoilt 
the "Othello" of Shakespeare. This long English name 
coming from my lips produced a sensation among our silent 
and attentive audience in epaulettes. Bonaparte did not al- 
together like anything English being praised. We argued 
the point awhile. All I said was very commonplace ; but I 
had named Shakespeare, I had held my own against the 
Consul, I had praised an English author. "What audacity ! 
what a prodigy of erudition ! I was obliged to keep silence 
for several days after, or at least only to take part in idle 


talk, in order to efface the effect of my unlucky and easily 
gained reputation for cleverness. 

When I left the palace and went back to my mother's 
house, I associated there with many amiable women and dis- 
tinguished men, whose conversation was most interesting; 
and I smiled to myself at the difference between their soci- 
ety and that of Bonaparte's Court. 

One good effect of our almost habitual silence was, that 
it kept us from gossip. The women had no chance of in- 
dulging in coquetry ; the men were incessantly occupied in 
their duties ; and Bonaparte, who did not yet venture to in- 
dulge all his fancies, and who felt that the appearance of 
regularity would be useful to him, lived in a way which de- 
ceived me as to his morality. He appeared to love his wife 
very much ; she seemed to be all in all to him. Neverthe- 
less, I discovered ere long that she had troubles of a nature 
which surprised me. She was of an exceedingly jealous dis- 
position. It was a very great misfortune for her that she 
had no children by her second husband ; he sometimes ex- 
pressed his annoyance, and then she trembled for her future. 
The family of the First Consul, who were always bitter 
against the Beauharnais, made the most of this misfortune. 
From these causes quarrels arose. Sometimes I found Mme. 
Bonaparte in tears, and then she would complain bitterly of 
her brothers-in-law, of Mme. Murat, and of Murat, who kept 
up their own influence by exciting the Consul to passing 
fancies, and promoting his secret intrigues. I begged her 
to keep quiet. I could see that if Bonaparte loved his wife, 
it was because her habitual gentleness gave him repose, and 
that she would lose her power if she troubled or disturbed 
him. However, during my first years at Court, the slight 
differences which arose between them always ended in satis- 
factory explanations and in redoubled tenderness. 

After 1802 I never saw General Moreau at Bonaparte's 
Court ; they were already estranged. Moreau's mother-in- 
law and wife were schemers, and Bonaparte could not endure 


a spirit of intrigue in women. Moreover, on one occasion 
the mother of Mme. Moreau, being at Malmaison, had ven- 
tured to jest about the suspected scandalous intimacy between 
Bonaparte and his young sister Caroline, then newly mar- 
ried. The Consul had not forgiven these remarks, for which 
he had severely censured both the mother and the daughter. 
Moreau complained, and was sharply questioned about his 
own attitude. He lived in retirement, among people who 
kept him in a state of constant irritation ; and Murat, who 
was the chief of an active secret police, spied out causes of 
offense which were wholly unimportant, and continually car- 
ried malicious reports to the Tuileries. This multiplication 
of the police was one of the evils of Bonaparte's govern- 
ment, and was the result of his suspicious disposition. The 
agents acted as spies upon each other, denounced each other, 
endeavored to make themselves necessary, and kept alive Bo- 
naparte's habitual mistrust. After the affair of the infernal 
machine, of which M. de Talleyrand availed himself to pro- 
cure the dismissal of Fouche, the police had been put into 
the hands of Eegnier, the chief judge. Bonaparte thought 
that his suppressing the Ministry of Police, which was a 
revolutionary invention, would look like liberalism and mod- 
eration. He soon repented of this step, and replaced the 
regular ministry by a multitude of spies, whom he continued 
to employ even after he had reinstated Fouche. His Prefect 
of Police, Murat, Duroc, Savary (who then commanded the 
gendarmerie d? elite), Maret (who had also a secret police, at 
the head of which was M. de Semonville), and I don't know 
how many others, did the work of the suppressed ministry. 

Fouche, who possessed in perfection the art of making 
himself necessary, soon crept back secretly into the favor of 
the First Consul, and succeeded in getting himself made 
minister a second time. The badly conducted trial of Gen- 
eral Moreau aided him in that attempt, as will be seen by 
what follows. 

At this time Cambace'res and Lebrun, Second and Third 


Consuls, took very little part in the administration of the 
Government. The latter, who was an old man, gave Bona- 
parte no concern. The .former, a distinguished magistrate, 
who was of great weight in all questions within the province 
of the Council of State, took part only in the discussion of 
certain laws. Bonaparte profited by his knowledge, and re- 
lied with good reason on the ridicule which his petty vanity 
excited to diminish his importance. Cambaceres, charmed 
with the distinctions conferred on him, paraded them with 
childish pleasure, which was humored and laughed at. His 
self-conceit on certain points frequently secured his safety. 

At the time of which I speak, M. de Talleyrand had vast 
influence. Every great political question passed through his 
hands. Not only did he regulate foreign affairs at that 
period, and principally determine the new State constitu- 
tions to be given to Germany & task which kid the founda- 
tions of his immense fortune but he had long conferences 
with Bonaparte every day, and urged him to measures for 
the establishment of his power on the basis of reparation and 
reconstruction. At that time I am certain that measures for 
the restoration of monarchy were frequently discussed be- 
tween them. M. de Talleyrand always remained unalterably 
convinced that monarchical government only was suitable to 
France ; while, for his own part, it would have enabled him 
to resume all his former habits of life, and replaced him on 
familiar ground. Both the advantages and the abuses proper 
to courts would offer him chances of acquiring power and in- 
fluence. I did not know M. de Talleyrand, and all I had 
heard of him had prejudiced me strongly against him. I 
was, however, struck by the elegance of his manners, which 
presented so strong a contrast to the rude bearing of the 
military men by whom I was surrounded. He preserved 
among them the indelible characteristics of a grand seigneur. 
He overawed by his disdainful silence, by his patronizing 
politeness, from which no one could escape. M. de Talley- 
rand, who was the most artificial of beings, contrived to 


make a sort of natural character for himself out of a number 
of habits deliberately adopted; he adhered to them under 
all circumstances, as though they had really constituted his 
true nature. His habitually light manner of treating the 
most momentous matters was almost always useful to him- 
self, but it frequently injured the effect of his actions. 

For several years I had no acquaintance with him I 
distrusted him vaguely ; but it amused me to hear him talk, 
and see him act with ease peculiar to himself, and which 
lent infinite grace to all those ways of his, which in any 
other man would be regarded as sheer affectation. 

The winter of this year (1803) was very brilliant. Bona- 
parte desired that fetes should be given, and he also occu- 
pied himself with the restoration of the theatres. He con- 
fided the carrying out of the latter design to his Prefects 
of the Palace. M. de Remusat was intrusted with the charge 
of the Comedie Francaise ; a number of pieces which had 
been prohibited by Republican policy were put upon the 
stage. By degrees all the former habits of social life were 
resumed. This was a clever way of enticing back those who 
had been familiar with that social life, and of reuniting the 
ties that bind civilized men together. This system was skill- 
fully carried out. Hostile opinions became weaker daily. 
The Royalists, who had been bafiled on the 18th Fructidor, 
continued to hope that Bonaparte, after having reestablished 
order, would include the return of the house of Bourbon 
among his restorations. They deceived themselves on this 
point indeed, but at least they might tlinank him for the re- 
establishment of order ; and they looked forward to a deci- 
sive blow, which, by disposing of his person and suddenly 
rendering vacant a place which henceforth no one but he 
could fill, would make it evident that only the legitimate 
sovereign could be his natural successor. This secret idea 
of a party which is generally confident in what it hopes, and 
always imprudent in what it attempts, led to renewed secret 
correspondences with our princes, to attempts by the emigres. 


and to movements in La Vendee ; and all these proceedings 
Bonaparte watched in silence. 

On the other hand, those who were enamored of federal 
government observed with uneasiness that the consular au- 
thority tended toward a centralization which was by degrees 
reviving the idea of royalty. These malcontents were al- 
most of the same mind as the few individuals who, notwith- 
standing the errors into which the cause of liberty had led 
some of its partisans, were forced by their consciences to 
acknowledge that the French Revolution was a movement 
of public utility, and who feared that Bonaparte might suc- 
ceed in paralyzing its action. Now and then a few words 
were said on this subject, which, although very moderate in 
tone, showed that the Hoyalists were not the only antagonists 
the secret projects of Bonaparte would meet with. Then 
there were the ultra-Jacobins to be kept within bounds, and 
also the military, who, full of their pretensions, were aston- 
ished that any rights except their own should be recognized. 
The state of opinion among all these different parties was 
accurately reported to Bonaparte, who steered his way among 
them prudently. He went on steadily toward a goal, which 
at that time few people even guessed at. He kept attention 
fixed upon a portion of his policy which he enveloped in 
mystery. He could at will attract or divert attention, and 
alternately excite the approbation of the one or the other 
party disturb or reassure them as he found it necessary ; 
now exciting wonder, and then hope. He regarded the 
French as fickle children ready to be amused by a new play- 
thing at the expense of their own dearest interests. His 
position as First Consul was advantageous to him, because, 
being so undefined, it excited less uneasiness among a certain 
class of people. At a later period the positive rank of Em- 
peror deprived him of that advantage ; then, after having 
let France into his secret, he had no other means left where- 
by to efface the impression from the country, but that fatal 
lure of military glory which he displayed before her. From 


this cause arose his never-ending wars, his interminable con- 
quests ; for he felt we must be occupied at all hazards. And 
now we can see that from this cause, too, arose the obligation 
imposed on him to push his destiny to its limits, and to re- 
fuse peace either at Dresden or even at Chatillon. For 
Bonaparte knew that he must infallibly be lost, from that 
day on which his compulsory quietude should give us time 
to reflect upon him and upon ourselves. 

At the end of 1802, or the beginning of 1803, there ap- 
peared in the " Moniteur " a dialogue between a Frenchman, 
enthusiastic on the subject of the English constitution, and 
a so-called reasonable Englishman, who, after having shown 
that there is, strictly speaking, no constitution in England, 
but only institutions, all more or less adapted to the position 
of the country and to the character of its inhabitants, en- 
deavors to prove that these institutions could not be adopted 
by the French without giving rise to many evils. By these 
and similar means, Bonaparte endeavored to control that de- 
sire for liberty which always springs up anew in the minds 
of the French people. 

About the close of 1802 we heard at Paris of the death 
of General Leclerc, of yellow fever, at Saint Domingo. In 
the month of January his pretty young widow returned to 
France. She was then in bad health, and dressed in deep, 
somber mourning ; but still I thought her the most charming 
person I had ever seen. Bonaparte strongly exhorted her to 
conduct herself better than she had done before she went 
out to Saint Domingo ; and she promised everything, but 
soon broke her word. 

The death of General Leclerc gave rise to a little diffi- 
culty, and the settling of this tended toward that revival of 
former customs which was preparing the way for monarchy. 
Bonaparte and Mme. Bonaparte put on mourning, and we 
received orders to do likewise. This was significant enough ; 
but it was not all. The ambassadors were to pay a visit at 
the Tuileries, to condole with the Consul and his wife on 


their loss, and it was represented to them that politeness re- 
quired them to wear mourning on the occasion. They met 
to deliberate, and, as there was not time for them to obtain 
instructions from their several courts, they resolved to accept 
the intimation they had received, thus following the custom 
usual in such cases. Since September, 1802, an ambassador 
from England, Lord Whitworth, had replaced the charge 
& affaires. There was hope of a lasting peace ; intercourse 
between England and France increased daily ; but, notwith- 
standing this, persons who were a little better informed than 
the crown foresaw causes of dissension between the two 
Governments. There had been a discussion in the English 
Parliament about the part which the French Government 
had taken in the matter of the new Swiss constitution, and 
the " Moniteur," which was entirely official, published arti- 
cles complaining of certain measures which were taken in 
London against Frenchmen. Appearances were, however, 
extremely favorable ; all Paris, and especially the Tuileries, 
seemed to be -given up to fetes and pleasures. Domestic life 
at the chateau was all peace, when suddenly the First Con- 
sul's taking a fancy to a young and beautiful actress, of the 
Theatre Franais, threw Mme. Bonaparte into great distress, 
and gave rise to bitter quarrels. 

Two remarkable actresses (Miles. Duchesnois and Georges) 
had made their debut in tragedy almost at the same time. 
The one was very plain, but her genius speedily gained 
popularity ; the other was not so talented, but was extremely 
beautiful.* The Parisian public sided warmly with one or 

* The following is my father's recollection of the talents and the rivalry of 
these two celebrated actresses: "The liaison of the Emperor with Mile. Georges 
was much talked about. I myself remember when a controversy raged in soci- 
ety respecting the merits of the two tragediennes. After each representation 
given by the one or the other, there were very animated disputes. Connoisseurs 
and the public in general preferred Mile. Duchesnois. She had not much tal- 
ent, however, and acted without intelligence ; but she had passion, tenderness, 
and a touching voice, which moved her audience to tears. It was, I believe, for 
her that the phrase, ' to have tears in the voice,' was invented. My mother and 


the other, but in general the success of talent was greater 
than that of beauty. Bonaparte, on the contrary, was charmed 
with the latter ; and Mme. Bonaparte soon learned, through 
the spying of her servants, that Mile. Georges had on sev- 
eral occasions been introduced into a little back room in the 
chateau. This discovery caused her extreme distress; she 
told me of it with great emotion, and shed more tears than 
I thought such a temporary affair called for. I represented 
to her that gentleness and patience were the only remedies 
for a grief which time would certainly cure ; and it was dur- 
ing the conversations we had on this subject that she gave 
me a notion of her husband which I would not otherwise 
have formed. According to her account, he had no moral 
principles whatever, and only concealed his vicious inclina- 
tions at that time because he feared they might harm him ; 
but, when he could give himself up to them without any 
risk, he would abandon himself to the most shameful pas- 
sions. Had he not seduced his own sisters one after the 
other ? Did he not hold that his position entitled him to 
gratify all his inclinations ? And, besides, his brothers were 
practicing on his weaknesses to induce him to relinquish all 
relations with his wife. As the result of their schemes she 
foresaw the much-dreaded divorce, which had already been 
mooted. " It is a great misfortune for me," she added, " that 
I have not borne a son to Bonaparte. That gives their hatred 

my aunt (Mme. de Nansouty) were in favor of Mile. Duchesnois, even to the 
point of disputing with my father himself, who, in his official capacity, was 
bound to be impartial. These discussions on dramatic art, enlivened by the fa- 
cility which my father's functions gave us for attending the theatres, inspired 
me with a taste for literature and conversation quite beyond my age. When 
very young, I was taken to the theatre, and I saw both these Melpomenes. It 
was said the one was so good as to be beautiful, and the other was so beautiful 
as to be good. The latter, who was then very young, trusting to her charms, 
was indolent, and the want of flexibility in her voice and a kind of drawl in her 
pronunciation interfered with her elocution. I think, however, in reality she 
was more clever than her rival, but that, by using her talent in so many differ- 
ent ways, she at the same time developed and depreciated it ; and she deserved 
at least a part of the reputation that she acquired in her old age." 


a weapon which they can always use against me." " But, 
madame," I said, "it appears to me that your daughter's 
child almost repairs that misfortune ; the First Consul loves 
him, and will, perhaps, in the end adopt him." " Alas ! " 
replied she, " that is the object of my dearest wishes ; but 
the jealous and sullen disposition of Louis Bonaparte leads 
him to oppose it. His family have maliciously repeated to 
him the insulting rumors concerning my daughter's conduct 
and the paternity of her son. Slander has declared the child 
to be Bonaparte's, and that is sufficient to make Louis refuse 
his consent to the adoption. You see how he keeps away 
from us, and now my daughter is obliged to be on her guard 
in everything. Moreover, independently of the good rea- 
sons I have for not enduring Bonaparte's infidelities, they 
always mean that I shall have a thousand other annoyances 
to submit to." 

This was quite true. I observed that from the moment 
the First Consul paid attention to another woman whether 
it was that his despotic temper led him to expect that his 
wife should approve this indication of his absolute indepen- 
dence in all things, or whether nature had bestowed upon 
him so limited a faculty of loving that it was all absorbed by 
the person preferred at the time, and that he had not a par- 
ticle of feeling left to bestow upon another he became 
harsh, violent, and pitiless to his wife. Whenever he had a 
mistress, he let her know it, and showed a sort of savage sur- 
prise that she did not approve of his indulging in pleasures 
which, as he would demonstrate, so to speak, mathematically, 
were both allowable and necessary for him. " I am not an 
ordinary man," he would say, " and the laws of morals and 
of custom were never made for me." Such speeches as 
these aroused the anger of Mme. Bonaparte, and she replied 
to them by tears and complaints, which her husband resented 
with the utmost violence. After a while his new fancy 
would vanish suddenly, and his tenderness for his wife re- 
vive. Then he was moved by her grief, and would lavish 


caresses upon her as unmeasured as his wrath had been; 
and, as she was very placable and gentle, she was easily 

While the storm lasted, however, my position was ren- 
dered embarrassing by the strange confidences of which I 
was the recipient, and at times by proceedings in which I 
was obliged to take part. I remember one occurrence in 
particular, during the winter of 1803, at which, and the ab- 
surd panic into which it threw me, I have often laughed 

Bonaparte was in the habit of occupying the same room 
with his wife ; she had cleverly persuaded him that doing so 
tended to insure his personal safety. "I told him," she 
said, "that as I was a very light sleeper, if any nocturnal 
attempt against him was made, I should be there to call for 
help in a moment." In the evening she never retired until 
Bonaparte had gone to bed. But when Mile. Georges was 
in the ascendant, as she used to visit the chateau very late, 
he did not on those occasions go to his wife's room until an 
advanced hour of the night. One evening Mme. Bonaparte, 
who was more than usually jealous and suspicious, kept me 
with her, and eagerly talked of .her troubles. It was one 
o'clock in the morning ; we were alone in her bondoir, and 
profound silence reigned in the Tuileries. All at once she 
rose. "I can not bear it any longer," she said. "Mile. 
Georges is certainly with him ; I will surprise them." I 
was alarmed by this sudden resolution, and said all I could 
to dissuade her from acting on it, but in vain. " Follow 
me," she said ; " let us go up together." Then I represented 
to her that such an act, very improper even on her part, 
would be intolerable on mine ; and that, in case of her mak- 
ing the discovery which she expected, I should certainly be 
one too many at the scene which must ensue. She would 
listen to nothing ; she reproached me with abandoning her 
in her distress, and she begged me so earnestly to accompany 
her, that, notwithstanding my repugnance, I yielded, saying 


to myself that our expedition would end in nothing, as no 
doubt precautions had been taken to prevent a surprise. 

Silently we ascended the back staircase leading to Bona- 
parte's room ; Mme. Bonaparte, who was much excited, go- 
ing first, while I followed slowly, feeling very much ashamed 
of the part I was being made to play. On our way we heard 
a slight noise. Mme. Bonaparte turned to me and said, 
" Perhaps that is Rustan, Bonaparte's Mameluke, who keeps 
the door. The wretch is quite capable of killing us both." 
On hearing this, I was seized with such terror that I could 
not listen further, and, forgetting that I was leaving Mme. 
Bonaparte in utter darkness, I ran back as quickly as I could 
to the boudoir, candle in hand. She followed me a few min- 
utes after, astonished at my sudden flight. When she saw 
my terrified face, she began to laugh, which set me off laugh- 
ing also, and we renounced our enterprise. I left her, tell- 
ing her I thought the fright she had given me was a very 
good thing for her, and that I was very glad I had yielded 
to it. 

Mme. Bonaparte's jealousy affected her sweet temper so 
much that it could not long be a secret to anybody. I was 
in the embarrassing position of a confidant without influence 
over the person who confided in me, and I could not but 
appear to be mixed up in the quarrels which I witnessed. 
Bonaparte thought that one woman must enter eagerly into 
the feelings of another, and he showed some annoyance at 
my being made aware of the facts of his private life. 

Meantime, the ugly actress grew in favor with the pub- 
lic of Paris, and the handsome one was frequently received 
with hisses. M. de Eemusat endeavored to divide patronage 
equally between the two ; but whatever he did for the one 
or for the other was received with equal dissatisfaction, either 
by the First Consul or by the public. 

These petty affairs gave us a good deal of annoyance. 
Bonaparte, without confiding the secret of his interest in the 
fair actress to M. de Remusat, complained to my husband, 


saying that he would not object to my being his wife's con- 
fidant, provided I would only give her good advice. My 
husband represented me as a sensible person, brought up 
with a great regard for propriety, and who would be most 
unlikely to encourage Mme. Bonaparte's jealous fancies. 
The First Consul, who was still well disposed toward us, ac- 
cepted this view of my conduct ; but thence arose another 
annoyance. He called upon me to interfere in his conjugal 
quarrels, and wanted to avail himself of what he called my 
good sense against the foolish jealousy of which he was 
wearied. As I never could conceal my real sentiments, I 
answered quite sincerely, when he told me how weary he 
was of all these scenes, that I pitied Mme. Bonaparte very 
much, whether she suffered with or without cause, and that 
he, above all persons, ought to excuse her ; but, at the same 
time, I admitted that I thought it undignified on her part to 
endeavor to prove the infidelity which she suspected by em- 
ploying her servants as spies on her husband. The First 
Consul did not fail to tell his wife that I blamed her in this 
respect, and then I was involved in endless explanations be- 
tween the husband and the wife, into which I imported all 
the ardor natural to my age, and also the devotion and at- 
tachment which I felt for both of them. We went through 
a constant succession of scenes, whose details have now faded 
from my memory, and in which Bonaparte would be at one 
time imperious, harsh, excessively suspicious, and at another 
suddenly moved, tender, almost gentle, atoning with a good 
grace for the faults he acknowledged but did not renounce. 

I remember one day, in order to avoid an awkward tete- 
a-tete with Mme. Bonaparte, he made me remain to dinner. 
His wife was just then very angry, because he had declared 
that henceforth he would have a separate apartment, and he 
insisted that I should give my opinion on this point. I was 
quite unprepared to answer him, and I knew that Mme. 
Bonaparte would not readily forgive me if I did not decide 
in her favor. I tried to evade a reply ; but Bonaparte, who 


enjoyed my embarrassment, insisted. I could find no other 
way out of the difficulty than by saying that I thought any- 
thing which might make people think the First Consul was 
altering his manner of living would give rise to injurious 
reports, and that the least change in the arrangements of the 
chdteau would inevitably be talked about. Bonaparte laughed, 
and, pinching my ear, said, " Ah ! you are a woman, and you 
all back each other." 

Nevertheless, he carried out his resolution, and from that 
time forth occupied a separate apartment. His manner to- 
ward his wife, however, became more affectionate after this 
breeze, and she, on her side, was less suspicious of him. She 
adopted the advice which I constantly urged upon her, to 
treat such unworthy rivalry with disdain. "It would be 
quite time enough to fret," I said, " if the Consul chose one 
of the women in your own society ; that would be a real grief, 
and for me a serious annoyance." Two years afterward my 
prediction was only too fully realized, especially as regarded 



A Eeturn to the Customs of the Monarchy M. de Fontanes Mme. d'Houdetot 
Kumors of War Meeting of the Corps Le"gislatif Departure of the English Am- 
bassador M. Maret Marshal Berthier Journey of the First Consul to Belgium 
A Carriage Accident The Amiens Fe"tes. 

WITH the exception of this slight disturbance, the winter 
passed quietly. The progress of the restoration of order was 
marked by several new institutions. The lyceums were or- 
ganized ; the magistrates again wore official robes, and were 
also invested with some importance. A collection of French 
paintings was placed at the Louvre, and called " the Museum," 
and M. Denon was appointed superintendent. Pensions and 
rewards were conferred on men of letters, and M. de Fontanes 
was frequently consulted on these points. Bonaparte liked 
to talk with him, and their conversations were in general 
very entertaining. The First Consul amused himself by at- 
tacking the pure and classical taste of M. de Fontanes, who 
defended our French chefs-cTceuvre with warmth, and thus he 
gained a reputation for courage among those present. For 
there were already persons at that Court who took so readily 
to the rdle of the courtier, that they looked upon any one who 
ventured to admire "Merope"or " Mithridates," after the 
master had declared that he cared for neither of those works, 
as quite a heroic being. 

Bonaparte appeared to derive great amusement from these 
literary controversies. At one time he even thought of in- 
viting certain men of letters to come twice a week to Mme. 


Bonaparte's receptions, so that he might enjoy their conver- 
sation. M. de Remusat, who was acquainted with a number 
of distinguished men in Paris, was directed to invite them to 
the chateau. Accordingly, one evening, several academicians 
and well-known literary men were invited. Bonaparte was 
in a good humor that night ; he talked very well, and allowed 
others to talk ; he was agreeable and animated. I was 
charmed to see him make himself so agreeable. I was very 
anxious that he should make a favorable impression on .per- 
sons who had not previously known him, and thus defeat 
certain prejudices which prevailed against him. When he 
chose, he could exhibit keen judgment, as he did, for instance, 
in appraising the worth of the old Abbe Morellet's intellect.* 
Morellet was a straightforward, positive man, who proceeded 
in argument from fact to fact and would never admit the 
power of the imagination on the progress of human ideas. 
Bonaparte delighted in upsetting this system. Allowing his 
imagination to take any flight it wished and in the Abbe's 
presence it carried him far he broached all kinds of subjects, 
gave full flight to his ideas, was highly amused at the bewil- 
derment of the Abbe, and was really very entertaining. 

The next day he spoke with pleasure of the previous 
evening, and said he would like to have many such. A 
similar reception was therefore fixed for a few days later. 
Somebody (I forget who) began to talk with much animation 
about liberty of thought and speech, and the advantages 
which they secure to nations. This led to a discussion con- 
siderably less free than on the former occasion, and the Con- 
sul maintained a silence when seemed to paralyze the com- 
pany. On the third evening he came in late, was absent 
and gloomy, and spoke only a few unconnected sentences. 
Every one was silent and constrained ; and the next day the 
First Consul told us that he saw there was nothing to be 

* The Abbe Morellet, a friend of Mme. d'Houdetot and Mme. de Vergennes, 
was a well-known personage at the end of the eighteenth century, and was called 
by Voltaire the Abbe Mord-les. He died January 12, 1819. P. R. 


made of these men of letters, nothing to be gained by ad- 
mitting them to intimacy, and he did not wish they should 
be invited again. He could not bear any restraint, and being 
obliged to appear affable and in a good humor on a certain 
day and at a certain hour was a yoke which he hastened to 
shake off. 

During that winter two distinguished academicians, MM. 
de la Harpe and de Saint-Lambert, died. I regretted the 
latter very much, because I was exceedingly attached to 
Mme. d'Houdetot, whose intimate friend he had been for 
forty years, and at whose house he died. This delightful 
old lady received all the best and most agreeable society of 
Paris. I was a constant visitor at her house ; there I found 
the revival of a day which then seemed lost beyond recall 
I mean that in which people conversed in an agreeable and 
instructive manner. Mme. d'Houdetot, whose age and dis- 
position alike kept her aloof from all political parties, en- 
joyed the repose that the country was enjoying, and profited 
by it to collect all that remained of Parisian good society at 
her house. They came willingly to tend and to amuse her 
old age. To go to her house was a relief from the restraint 
under which I lived at the Tuileries, partly from the exam- 
ple of others and partly from the experience which I was 
beginning to acquire. 

About this time a rumor rose that war with England was 
likely to break out again. Private letters revealing certain 
enterprises set on foot in La Yendee were published. In 
these letters the English Government was accused of aiding 
the Yendeans, and George Cadoudal was named in them as 
the agent between the English Government and the Chouans. 
M. Andre was also mentioned ; it was said he had got into 
France secretly, after already having endeavored, before the 
18th Fructidor, to assist the Eoyalist cause. "While this rumor 
was spreading, the Legislative Assembly was called together. 
The report of the state of the Kepublic which was laid be- 
fore it was remarkable, and gave rise to much comment. It 


included peace with foreign powers ; the conduswm given at 
Ratisbon upon the new partition of Germany, and recognized 
bj all the sovereigns ; the constitution accepted by the Swiss ; 
the Concordat ; the regulation of public education ; the for- 
mation of the Institute ; * the improved administration of 
justice ; the amelioration of the finances ; the Civil Code, of 
which a portion was submitted to the Assembly; various 
public works commenced both on our frontiers and in 
France ; plans for Antwerp, for Mont Cenis, the banks of 
the Rhine, and the canal de TOurcq ; the acquisition of the 
island of Elba; the possession of Saint Domingo; several 
proposals for laws, upon indirect taxation, on the formation 
of chambers of commerce, on the exercise of the profession 
of medicine, and on manufactures. All this formed a satis- 
factory statement, and one honorable to the Government. 
At the end of the report, however, a few words were slipped 
in with reference to the possibility of a rupture with Eng- 
land, and the necessity for increasing the army. Neither the 
Legislative Assembly nor the Tribunate offered any opposi- 
tion whatever, and approbation which at that time was really 
deserved was bestowed upon so fair a beginning to many 
great undertakings. 

In March, bitter complaints appeared in our newspapers 
of certain pamphlets against Bonaparte which were circulated 
in England. This sensitiveness to strictures by the English 
free press was only a pretext ; the occupation of Malta and 
our intervention in the Government of Switzerland were the 
true causes of the rupture. On the 8th of March, 1803, a 
message from the King of England to the Parliament de- 
clared that important differences between the two Govern- 
ments had arisen, and complained of the warlike preparations 
which were being made in the ports of Holland. Immedi- 
ately afterward the scene took place in which Bonaparte 

* It would be more correct to say that the First Consul reorganized the In- 
stitute, by suppressing the class of moral and political sciences on January 23, 
1803. This class was not reestablished till after 1830. P. R. 


either feigned or allowed himself to exhibit violent anger in 
the presence of all the ambassadors. A little later he left 
Paris for Saint Cloud. 

Notwithstanding his absorption in public affairs, he took 
care to direct one of his Prefects of the Palace to write a 
letter of congratulation and compliment to the celebrated 
musician Paisiello on the opera of " Proserpine," which had 
just been given in Paris. The First Consul was exceedingly 
anxious to attract the celebrated people of all countries to 
France, and he paid them liberally. 

Shortly afterward the rupture between France and Eng- 
land took place, and the English ambassador before whose 
house a great crowd had been in the habit of assembling 
daily, in order to judge of the state of affairs, according to 
the preparations for departure which they could or could not 
perceive in the courtyard left Paris abruptly. M. de Tal- 
leyrand communicated to the Senate a statement of the rea- 
sons that rendered war inevitable. The Senate replied that 
they could only applaud the combined moderation and firm- 
ness of the First Consul, and sent a deputation to Saint Cloud 
to express their gratitude and their devotion. M. de Yau- 
blanc, when speaking in the Legislative Assembly, exclaimed 
enthusiastically, "What chief of a nation has ever shown a 
greater love of peace ? " If it were possible to separate the 
history of the negotiations of the First Consul from that of 
his exploits, it would read like the life of a magistrate whose 
sole endeavor had been the establishment of peace. The 
Tribunate expressed a desire that energetic measures should 
be taken ; and, after these various acts of admiration and obe- 
dience, the session of the Legislative Assembly came to a close. 

Then appeared certain violent notes against the English 
Government, which soon became numerous, and dealt in 
detail with the attacks of the free daily press in London. 
Bonaparte dictated the substance of these notes, and M. 
Maret drew them up. Thus the sovereign of a great empire 
entered, so to speak, into a war of words with journalists, 


and lowered his own dignity by allowing it to be seen that 
he was stung by the criticisms of ephemeral newspapers, 
whose comments it would have been far wiser to ignore. It 
was easy for the English journalists to find out how hard 
their remarks hit the First Consul, and a little later the Em- 
peror of France, and they accordingly redoubled their at- 
tacks. How many times, when we saw him gloomy and out 
of temper, did Mme. Bonaparte tell us it was because he had 
read some article against himself in the "Courier" or the 
" Sun " ! He tried to wage a pen-and-ink war with the Eng- 
lish press ; he subsidized certain journals in London, expended 
a great deal of money, and deceived no one either in France 
or in England. 

I have said that he often dictated notes on this subject 
for the " Moniteur." Bonaparte dictated with great ease. 
He never wrote anything with his own hand. His hand- 
writing was bad, and as illegible by himself as by others ; his 
spelling was very defective. He utterly lacked patience to 
do anything whatever with his own hands. The extreme 
activity of his mind and the habitual prompt obedience ren- 
dered to him prevented him from practicing an occupation 
in which the mind must necessarily wait for the action of 
the body. Those who wrote from his dictation first M. 
Bourrienne, then M. Maret, and Menneval, his private secre- 
tary had made a sort of shorthand for themselves, in order 
that their pens might travel as fast as his thoughts. He dic- 
tated while walking to and fro in his cabinet. When he 
grew angry, he would use violent imprecations, which were 
suppressed in writing, and which had at least the advantage 
of giving the writer time to come up with him. He never re- 
peated anything that he once said, even if it had not been 
heard ; and this was very hard on the poor secretary, for he 
remembered accurately what he had said and detected every 
omission. One day he read a tragedy in manuscript, and it 
interested him sufficiently to inspire him with a fancy to 
make some alterations in it. " Take a pen and paper," said 

M. MARET. 71 

he to M. de Remusat, " and write for me." Hardly giving 
my husband time to seat himself at a table, he began to dic- 
tate so quickly that M. de Reniusat, although accustomed to 
write with great rapidity, was bathed in perspiration while 
trying to follow him. Bonaparte perceived his difficulty, 
and would stop now and then to say, " Come, try to under- 
stand me, for I will not repeat what I say." He always de- 
rived amusement from causing any one uneasiness and dis- 
tress. His great general principle, which he applied to every- 
thing, both small and great, was that there could be no zeal 
where there was no disquiet. Fortunately he forgot to ask 
for the sheet of observations he had dictated. M. de Re- 
musat and I have often tried to read it since, but we have 
never been able to make out a word of it. 

M. Maret, the Secretary of State, was a man of very 
ordinary intellect ; indeed, Bonaparte did not dislike medi- 
ocrity, because he said he had enough brains to give those 
about him what they wanted in that way. M. Maret rose to 
high favor in consequence of his great facility in writing 
from the First Consul's dictation. He accustomed himself 
to follow and seize upon the first indication of Bonaparte's 
idea so faithfully that he could report it just as it came from 
the speaker's brain without making an observation. His 
favor with his master was perhaps still more largely due to 
the fact that he felt or feigned boundless devotion to him, 
and it was displayed by such enthusiastic admiration that 
Bonaparte could not help being flattered. So far did M. 
Maret carry the art of skillful adulation, that it was posi- 
tively asserted that when he traveled with the Emperor he 
took the trouble to leave with his wife drafts of letters, 
which she copied carefully, complaining that her husband 
was so exclusively devoted to his master that she could not 
help feeling jealous. As all' the letters were delivered at 
the Emperor's own quarters while he was traveling, and as 
he frequently amused himself by opening them, these clever 
complainings produced exactly the intended effect. 


When M. Maret* was Minister of Foreign Affairs, he 
took care not to follow the example of M. de Talleyrand, 
who used to say that it was, above all, Bonaparte himself 
whom it was necessary for that minister to manage. Maret, 
on the contrary, fostered all Bonaparte's passions, and was 
surprised that foreign sovereigns should dare to be angry 
when he insulted them, or should offer any resistance to 
their own ruin. He thus advanced his personal fortune at 
the expense of Europe, whose just interests an honest and 
able minister would have endeavored to protect. A courier 
was always in readiness, by whom he might dispatch to any 
one of the sovereigns the first angry words that escaped 
from Bonaparte, when he heard news which displeased him. 
His weak complaisance was sometimes injurious to his mas- 
ter. It caused more than one rupture which was regretted 
when the first outbreak of violence had passed, and it proba- 
bly contributed to the fall of Bonaparte; for, in the last 
year of his reign, while he lingered at Dresden uncertain 
what to do, Maret delayed for eight days the retreat it was 
so important to make, because he had not the courage to 
inform the Emperor of the defection of Bavaria, a piece of 
intelligence it was most necessary he should learn.f An 

* Afterward Due de Bassano. 

f The duties of the most conscientious editor do not bind him to explain, to 
justify, or, still less, to contradict the assertions or the suppositions of the au- 
thor whose recollections he lays before the public. It is evident that a great 
many of the views expressed here are personal, or that they represent public 
opinion at that period of our history. While taking the responsibility of what 
he prints, the editor does not profess entire agreement with all the opinions of 
the author ; and it is not necessary to bring forward an opinion in opposition to 
an impression, or a new document or a recent history in contrast with a contem- 
poraneous impression of the facts, on every occasion of divergence. For in- 
stance, M. Maret doubtless merits reproach on more than one head, but the 
accusation that he was so base as not to inform the Emperor in time of the 
defection of Bavaria, in 1813, is probably one of those imputations which are 
due to the contempt with which M. de Talleyrand treated his pitiful, insignificant 
successor. He is known to have said, " I never knew but one man so stupid as 
the Due de Bassano ; he was M. Maret." It is probable that Maret, on his 
arrival at Leipsic in October, 1813, was made aware of the treaty of Bavaria 

M. MARET. 73 

anecdote of M. de Talleyrand may be related here, as a sam- 
ple of the skill with which that astute minister managed 

with the Coalition, but that he did not attach any great importance to it, or did 
not dare speak of it to a master who was becoming day by day less capable of 
bearing the truth, and of facing things which displeased him. The Due de Bas- 
sano was, of all the ministers, the least fit to cope with this fatal tendency. 
There was in his nature a mixture of sincere servility and blind admiration, 
which made him a courtier rather than a minister. The following is my father's 
opinion of Bassano : " He was neither an utterly unintelligent nor a bad man, 
but he was one of those people whose mediocrity, alike in good or in evil, may 
be as pernicious as stupidity or villainy. He had but little intellect ; his self- 
sufficiency and haughtiness as an improvised nobleman and a parvenu statesman 
were absolutely absurd. His heavy frivolity, his bourgeois dignity, and his vul- 
gar affectation obscured what there really was in him. He had a great capacity 
for work, much facility of expression, a quick and tolerably just perception of 
the superficial and material side of affairs, an accurate memory for details, a 
faculty for attending to several things at once, and a talent for identifying him- 
self with the idea or even the sentiment of what was dictated to him. The lat- 
ter quality made him a useful, or rather a convenient instrument, and as a 
minister of the second or third rank he would have done well. He had no lean- 
ing toward wrong or injustice. Violence directed against individuals was not to 
his liking, and it is said that he sometimes averted it. He was, moreover, sin- 
cerely attached to the Emperor, and, to my knowledge, he never endeavored to 
elude by any meanness those misfortunes which in later years that attachment 
drew down upon himself ; but, full of self-confidence, greedy of favor, jealous 
of his influence, inflated with a sense of bis own rank and power, he regarded 
with the eye of an enemy merit, independence, anything which might tend to 
throw himself into the shade, or did not serve his ambition, flatter his vanity, or 
minister to his greatness. To keep his place near the Emperor had become his 
sole thought, and was regarded by him as his chief duty ; to please the Emperor 
in everything was all his study and all his policy. The Napoleonic system, as 
the Emperor practiced it, was to him official truth, and official truth was to him 
all truth." In the Memoirs of Count Beugnot, published a few years ago by 
his grandson, the following passage occurs : " M. Maret has an excellent heart ; 
he is therefore by nature inclined to everything good. His mind is cultivated, 
and, if diplomacy had not drawn him away from the profession of letters, he 
would have made a respectable, if not a distinguished, figure in literature. His 
talent lies chiefly in a singular facility for reproducing the ideas of others, and 
he has exercised it so largely in editing the * Moniteur,' and in other work of the 
same nature, that his whole mind is, as it were, absorbed by it. It was the 
Abbe Sieyes who originally procured the post of Secretary to the Consulate for 
him. At first he failed to please the First Consul, precisely on account of those 
qualities which since then have endeared him to Bonaparte his obsequiousness, 
his eagerness, his propensity to merge his own mind in that of another ; but by 


Bonaparte, and also of the completeness of his own ascen- 

A treaty of peace between England and France was be- 
ing arranged at Amiens in the spring of 1810. Certain 
difficulties which had arisen between the plenipotentiaries 
were giving rise to some little uneasiness, and Bonaparte 
was anxiously expecting dispatches. A courier arrived, and 
brought to the Minister of Foreign Affairs the much-desired 
signature. M. de Talleyrand put it in his pocket and went 
to the First Consul. He appeared before him with that im- 
movable countenance which he wears on every occasion. 
For a whole hour he remained with Bonaparte, transacting 
a number of important matters of business, and when all was 
done, " Now," said he, smiling, " I am going to give you a 
great pleasure ; the treaty is signed, and here it is." Bona- 
parte was astounded at this fashion of announcing the mat- 
ter. " Why did you not tell me at once ? " he demanded. 
" Ah," replied M. de Talleyrand, " because then you would 
not have listened to me on any other subject. When you 
are pleased, you are not always pleasant." The self-control 
displayed in this reticence struck the Consul, " and," added 
M. de Talleyrand, " did not make him angry, because he saw 
immediately how far it might be made useful to himself." 

degrees, as the First Consul absorbed authority, and became accustomed to rule 
alone, he grew reconciled to the Secretary of the Consulate. The despotism of 
the one and the favor of the other grew in the same proportion." (" Mdmoires 
du Comte Beugnot," vol. ii., p. 316.) Baron Ernouf has recently published an 
apology for the Due de Bassano, under the title " Maret, Due de Bassano." 
These several estimates, which are different without being contradictory, show 
that the influence of the Due de Bassano in the Imperial councils was not bene- 
ficial to the common weal. He was apparently one of those who think that a 
disagreeable disclosure or unwelcome advice is more hurtful to the offerer than 
useful to the recipient. Such people are careful rather to foster the weaknesses 
than to consider the actual situation of their masters, and to serve their passions 
at the expense of their interests. Such flatterers are doubtless detestable, but 
the source of their crimes is absolute power. It is because the monarch is all- 
powerful that it is dangerous to displease him. All meanness, as well as all 
justice, emanates from the king. P. R. 


Another person, who was really more attached to Bona- 
parte, and quite as demonstrative in his admiration for him 
as M. Maret, was Marshal Berthier, Prince of Wagram. 
He had served in the campaign in Egypt, and had become 
strongly attached to his General. Berthier's friendship for 
him was so great that, little as Bonaparte valued anything 
coming from the heart, he could not but respond to it in 
some degree. The sentiment was, however, very unequally 
divided between them, and was used by the powerful one of 
the two as a means of exaction. One day Bonaparte said to 
M. de Talleyrand : " I really can not understand how a rela- 
tion that bears some appearance of friendship has established 
itself between Berthier and me. I don't indulge in useless 
sentiments, and Berthier is so uninteresting that I do not 
know why I should care at all about him ; and yet, when I 
think of it, I believe I really have some liking for him." 
" If you do care about him," replied M. de Talleyrand, " do 
you know the reason why? It is because he believes in you." 

These anecdotes, which I set down as they recur to my 
memory, did not come to my knowledge till a much later 
period, when my greater intimacy with M. de Talleyrand 
revealed to me the chief traits in Bonaparte's character. At 
first I was completely deceived by him, and was very happy 
to be so. I knew he had genius, I saw that he was disposed 
to make amends for the passing wrongs he did his wife, and 
I remarked his friendship for Berthier with pleasure ; he 
caressed little Napoleon in my presence, and seemed to love 
him. I regarded him as accessible to kindly natural feelings, 
and my youthful imagination arrayed him in all those quali- 
ties which I desired to find in him. It is only just to him 
also to admit that excess of power intoxicated him ; that his 
passions were increased in violence by the facility with which 
he was enabled to gratify them ; but that while he was young, 
and as yet uncertain of the future, he frequently hesitated 
between the open exhibition of vice and, at least, the affec- 
tation of virtue. 


After the declaration of war with England, somebody (I 
do not know who) suggested to Bonaparte the idea of an in- 
vasion by means of flat-bottomed boats. I can not say with 
certainty whether he really believed in this plan, or whether 
he only used it as a pretext for collecting and increasing his 
army, which he assembled at the camp of Boulogne. So 
many people maintained that a descent upon the shores of 
England in this way was practicable, that it is quite possible 
he may have thought fate had a success of the kind in store 
for him. Enormous works were begun in our ports, and in 
some of the Belgian towns ; the army marched to the coast, 
and Generals Soult and Ney were sent to command it at 
different points. The idea of a conquest of England fired 
the general imagination ; and even the English themselves 
began to feel uneasy, and thought it necessary to make some 
preparations for defense. Attempts were made to excite the 
public mind against the English by dramatic representations ; 
scenes from the life of "William the Conqueror were repre- 
sented at the theatres. The conquest of Hanover was easily 
effected, but then came the blockade of our ports that did us 
so much harm. 

During the summer of this year (1803) a journey to Bel- 
gium was arranged, and Bonaparte required that it should be 
made with great magnificence. He had little trouble in per- 
suading Mme. Bonaparte to take with her everything that 
could make an impression on the people to whom she was 
about to exhibit herself. Mme. Talhouet and I were selected 
to accompany her, and the Consul gave me thirty thousand 
francs for those expenses which he prescribed. He set out 
on the 24:th of June, with a cortege of several carriages, two 
generals of his guard, his aides-de-camp, Duroc, two Prefects 
of the Palace (M. de Remusat and a Piedmontese named 
Salmatoris), and commenced the journey in great pomp. 

Before we set out, we went for one day to Mortef ontaine, 
an estate which had been purchased by Joseph Bonaparte. 
All the family were assembled there, and a strange occur- 


rence took place. We passed the morning in walking about 
the gardens, which are beautiful. When dinner hour ap- 
proached, a question arose about the placing of the guests. 
The elder Mme. Bonaparte was at Mortef ontaine, and Joseph 
told his brother that he intended to take his mother in to 
dinner, and to place her on his right hand, while Mme. Bona- 
parte was to sit on his left. The First Consul took offense 
at this arrangement, which placed his wife in the second rank, 
and insisted that his brother should transfer their mother to 
that position. Joseph refused, and no argument could in- 
duce him to give way. When dinner was announced, Joseph 
took his mother's hand, and Lucien escorted Mme. Bonaparte. 
The First Consul, incensed at this opposition to his will, hur- 
riedly crossed the room, took the arm of his wife, passed out 
before every one, seated her' beside himself, and then, turn- 
ing to me, ordered me to place myself near him. The com- 
pany were all greatly embarrassed, I even more so than the 
others ; and Mme. Joseph Bonaparte,* to whom some polite- 
ness was due, found herself at the bottom of the table, as if 
she were not one of the family. 

The stiffness and gloom of that dinner-party may be easily 
imagined. The brothers were angry, Mme. Bonaparte was 
wretched, and I was excessively embarrassed by my promi- 
nent position. During the dinner Bonaparte did not address 
a single member of his family ; he occupied himself with his 
wife, talked to me, and chose this opportune occasion to in- 
form me that he had that morning restored to my cousin, the 
Vicomte da Yergennes, certain forests which had long been 
sequestrated on account of his emigration, but which had not 
been sold. I was touched by this mark of his kindness, but 
it was very vexatious to me that he selected such a moment 
to tell me of it, because the gratitude which I would other- 
wise have gladly expressed, and the joy which I really felt, 
made me appear to the observers of the little scene to be 

* Joseph Bonaparte had married Mile. Julia Clary, the daughter of a mer- 
chant at Marseilles.?. B. 


talking freely to him, while I was really in a state of painful 
constraint. The remainder of the day passed drearily, as 
may be supposed, and we left Mortefontaine on the morrow. 

An accident which happened at the beginning of our 
journey increased the regard which I was then happy to feel 
for Bonaparte and his wife. He traveled with her and one 
of the generals of his guard, and his carriage was preceded 
by one containing Duroc and three aides-de-camp. A third 
carriage was occupied by Mme. Talhouet, M. de Remusat, 
and myself ; two others followed. Shortly after we had left 
Compiegne, where we visited a military school, on our way 
to Amiens, our carriage was violently overturned. Mme. 
Talhouet's head was badly cut ; M. de Remusat and I were 
only bruised. With some trouble we were extricated from 
the carriage. Bonaparte, who was on in front, was told of 
this accident ; he at once alighted from his carriage, and 
with Mme. Bonaparte, who was much frightened about me, 
hastened to join us at a cottage, whither we had been taken. 
I was so terrified that, as soon as I saw Bonaparte, I begged 
him with tears to send me back to Paris ; I already disliked 
traveling as much as did the pigeon of La Fontaine, and in 
my distress I cried out that I must return to my mother and 
my children. 

Bonaparte said a few words intended to calm me ; but, 
finding that he could not succeed in doing so, he took my arm 
in his, gave orders that Mme. Talhouet should be placed in 
one of the carriages, and, after satisfying himself that M.- de 
Remusat was none the worse for the accident, led .me, fright- 
ened as I was, to his own carriage, and made me get in with 
him. "We set off again, and he took pains to cheer up his 
wife and me, and told us, laughingly, to kiss each other and 
cry, " because," he said, "that always does women good." 
After a while his animated conversation distracted my 
thoughts, and my fear of the further journey subsided. 
Mme. Bonaparte having referred to the grief my mother 
would feel if any harm happened to me, Bonaparte ques- 


tioned me about her, and appeared to be well aware of the 
high esteem in which she was held in society. Indeed, it 
was largely to this that his attention to me was due. At that 
period, when so many people still held back from the ad- 
vances he made to them, he was greatly gratified that my 
mother had consented to my holding a place in his household. 
At that time I was in his eyes almost a personage Whose ex- 
ample would, he hoped, be followed. 

On the evening of the same day we arrived at Amiens, 
where we were received with enthusiasm impossible to de- 
scribe. The horses were taken from the carriage, and re- 
placed by the inhabitants, who insisted on drawing it them- 
selves. I was the more affected by this spectacle, as it was 
absolutely novel to me. Alas ! since I had been of an age to 
observe what was passing around me, I had witnessed only 
scenes of terror and woe, I had heard only sounds of hate and 
menace ; and the joy of the inhabitants of Amiens, the gar- 
lands that decorated our route, the triumphal arches erected 
in honor of him who was represented on all these devices as 
the saviour of France, the crowds who fought for a sight of 
him, the universal blessings which could not have been ut- 
tered to order the whole spectacle, in fact, so affected me 
that I could not restrain my tears. Mme. Bonaparte wept ; 
I saw even the eyes of Bonaparte himself glisten for a mo- 



Continuation of the Journey to Belgium Opinions of the First Consul on Grati- 
tude, on Glory, and on the French Ghent, Malines, and Brussels The Clergy 
M. de Koquelaure Eetum to Saint Cloud Preparations for an Invasion of 
England Marriage of Mme. Leclerc Journey of the First Consul to Boulogne 
Illness of M. de E&nusat I rejoin him Conversations with the First Consul. 

ON Bonaparte's arrival in town, the Prefect of the Palace 
was directed to summon the various persons in authority, that 
they might be presented to him. The prefect, the mayor, 
the bishop, the presidents of the tribunals, would read an 
address to him, and then, turning to Mme. Bonaparte, make 
her a little speech also. According to the mood he happened 
to be in, Bonaparte would listen to these discourses to the 
end, or interrupt them by questioning the deputation on the 
nature of their respective functions, or on the district in 
which they exercised them. He rarely put questions with 
an appearance of interest, but rather with the air of a man 
who desires to show his knowledge, and wants to see whether 
he can be answered. These speeches were addressed to the 
Republic ; but any one who reads them may see that in 
almost every respect they might have been addressed to a 
sovereign. Indeed, the mayors of some of the Flemish 
towns went so far as to urge the Consul to " complete the 
happiness of the world by exchanging his precarious title for 
one better suited to the lofty destiny to which he was called." 
I was present the first time that happened, and I kept my 
eyes fixed upon Bonaparte. When these very words were 
uttered, he had some difficulty in checking the smile that 


hovered about his lips ; but, putting strong control upon 
himself, he interrupted the orator, and replied, in a tone of 
feigned anger, that it would be unworthy of him to usurp 
an authority which must affect the existence of the Republic. 
Thus, like Caesar, he repudiated the crown, though perhaps 
he was not ill pleased that they were beginning to offer it to 
him. The good people of the provinces we visited were 
not very far wrong ; for the splendor that surrounded us, 
the sumptuousness of that military yet brilliant court, the 
strict ceremonial, the imperious tone of the master, the sub- 
mission of all about him, and, finally, the expectation that 
homage should be paid the wife of the first magistrate, to 
whom the Republic certainly owed none all this strongly 
resembled the progress of a king. 

After these audiences, Bonaparte generally rode out on 
horseback ; he showed himself to the people, who followed 
him with acclamations ; he visited the public monuments 
and manufactories, but always in a hurried way, for he could 
never get over that precipitation which gave him an ill-bred 
air. Afterward he would give a dinner, or attend a fete 
which had been prepared for him, and this was always the 
most wearisome part of the business to him. " I am not 
made for pleasure," he would say, in a melancholy tone. 
Then he would leave the town, after having received peti- 
tions, attended to complaints, and distributed alms and pres- 
ents. He was accustomed, when on a journey of this sort, 
to inform himself at each town he went to what public 
establishments were wanting there, and he would order them 
to be founded, in commemoration of his visit. The inhabi- 
tants would load him with blessings for this munificence. 
But shortly afterward a mandate from the Minister of the 
Interior would arrive, drawn up in this form : " In conform- 
ity with the gracious permission of the First Consul " (later 
it was "the Emperor"), "you are directed, citizen mayors, 
to have such and such a building constructed, taking care 
that the expenses shall be defrayed by the funds of your 


commune." Thus these towns would suddenly find them- 
selves obliged to alter the disposition of their funds, very 
often at a moment when they were not sufficient for neces- 
sary expenses. The Prefect took care, however, that the 
orders were executed, or at least the most useful portion of 
of them ; and it must be admitted that, from one end 
France to the other, everything was being embellished, and 
that the general prosperity was such that new works, even of 
the most important nature, might safely be undertaken every- 

At Arras, at Lille, and at Dunkirk, we had similar re- 
ceptions; but it seemed to me that the enthusiasm cooled 
down when we got beyond the former boundaries of France. 
At Ghent, especially, we detected some coldness in the popu- 
lar greeting. In vain did the authorities endeavor to stir up 
the zeal of the inhabitants ; they were curious, but not en- 
thusiastic. Bonaparte was a little annoyed, and inclined to 
proceed without delay. He thought better of this, however, 
and said in the evening to his wife : " These people are 
bigoted and under the influence of the priests ; we must re- 
main a* long time at church to-morrow, and propitiate the 
clergy by some favor. In this way we shall regain lost 
ground." Next day he attended high mass with every ap- 
pearance of devoutness ; he talked to the Bishop, whom he 
completely captivated, and by degrees he obtained the popu- 
lar acclamations he desired. At Ghent he met the daughters 
of the Due de Yillequier, formerly one of the four Gentle- 
men of the Chamber to the King. These ladies were nieces 
of the Bishop, and Bonaparte restored to them the beautiful 
estate of Yillequier, with its large revenues. I had the hap- 
piness of contributing to this restitution, by urging it with 
all my might, both upon Bonaparte and upon his wife. The 
two amiable young ladies have never forgotten this to me. 
When I assured Bonaparte of their gratitude, " Ah," said he, 
" gratitude ! That is a poetic word which has no meaning 
in times of revolution ; and what I have just done would not 


prevent your friends from rejoicing if some Koyalist emis- 
sary should succeed in assassinating me during this journey." 
And, as I betrayed the surprise with which I heard him, he 
continued : " You are young ; you do not know what politi- 
cal hatred is. It is like a pair of spectacles : one sees every- 
body, every opinion, or every sentiment only through the 
glass of one's passions. Hence, nothing is bad or good of it- 
self, but simply according to the party to which one belongs. 
In reality, this mode of seeing is convenient, and we profit 
by it ; for we also have our spectacles, and, if we do not see 
things through our passions, we see them through our in- 

" But," I replied, " where, in such a system, do you place 
the applause which you do care to win ? For what class of 
men do you spend your life in great and often perilous en- 
terprises ? " 

" Ah," he answered, " one can not avoid L one's destiny ; 
he who is called can not resist. Besides, human pride finds 
the public it desires in that ideal world which is called pos- 
terity. He who believes that, a hundred years hence, a fine 
poem, or even a line in one, will recall a great action of his 
own, or that a painting will commemorate it, has his imagi- 
nation fired by that idea. The battle-field has no dangers, 
the cannon roars in vain ; to him it is only that sound which, 
a thousand years hence, will carry a brave man's name to the 
ears of our distant descendants." 

" I shall never be able to understand," I continued, " how 
a man can expose himself to every sort of danger for fame's 
sake, if his own inward sentiment be only contempt for the 
men of his own time." 

Here Bonaparte interrupted me quickly. " I do not de- 
spise men, madame that is a thing you must never say ; and 
I particularly esteem the French." 

I smiled at this abrupt declaration, and, as he guessed 
why, he smiled also ; and approaching me and pulling my 
ear, which was, as I have already said, a trick of his when 


he was in a good humor, he repeated, " Do you hear, ma- 
dame ? you must never say that I despise the French." 

From Ghent we went to Antwerp, where we were re- 
ceived with a special ceremony. On occasions of visits from 
kings and princes, the people of Antwerp are in the habit of 
parading through their streets a giant, who never makes his 
appearance except on such solemn festivals. Although we 
were neither king nor prince, we were obliged to yield to 
the people's wish in this matter, and it put Bonaparte in 
good humor with the town of Antwerp. He occupied him- 
self much while there with the important extension which 
he designed for its harbor, and gave orders for the com- 
mencement of the great works which have since been exe- 
cuted there. 

On the way from Antwerp to Brussels we stopped at 
Malines for a few hours, and there we saw the new Arch- 
bishop, M. de Roquelaure.* He was Bishop of Senlis under 
Louis XVI., and had been the intimate friend of my great- 
uncle, the Count de Yergennes. I had seen a great deal of 
him in my childhood, and I was glad to meet him again. 
Bonaparte talked to him in a very insinuating manner. At 
this period he affected great esteem for the priests, and care 
for their interests. He knew how steadily religion supports 
royalty, and he hoped that through the priests he might get 
the people taught that catechism which we have since seen, 
in which all who did not love and obey the Emperor were 
threatened with eternal condemnation. For the first time 
since the Revolution, the clergy found the Government oc- 
cupying itself with their welfare, and giving them rank and 
consideration. They showed themselves grateful, and were 
useful to Bonaparte until the moment came when he endea- 
vored to impose his ever-growing despotism on their con- 

* M. de Roquelaure had been Bishop of Senlis and Almoner to the King. 
He became Archbishop of Malines in 1802. The Emperor replaced him in 1808 
by the Abbe de Pradt. He was a member of the Academie Fran9aise, and died 
in 1818. He did not belong to the family of the Due de Roquelaure. P. R. 


sciences, and the priests had to choose between him and their 
duty. At this time, however, the words, " He has reestab- 
lished religion," * were in every pious mouth, and told im- 
mensely in his favor. 

Our entry into Brussels was magnificent. Several fine 
regiments awaited the First Consul at the gate, where he 
mounted his horse. Mine. Bonaparte found a superb car- 
riage, presented to her by the city, awaiting her ; the streets 
were lavishly decorated, cannon were fired, the bells were 
rung ; the numerous clergy were assembled in great pomp 
on the steps of all the churches ; there was an immense 
crowd of the population, and also many foreigners, and the 
weather was beautiful. I was enchanted. Our stay in 
Brussels was a succession of brilliant fetes. The French 
ministers, Consul Lebrun, the envoys from the foreign 
courts who had business to arrange, came to meet us there. 
At Brussels I heard M. de Talleyrand reply in an adroit and 
flattering manner to a question suddenly put to him by Bona- 
parte, who asked him how he had so rapidly made his great 
fortune ? " Nothing could be more simple," replied M. de 
Talleyrand ; " I bought stock on the 17th Brumaire, and I 
sold it again on the 19th." 

One Sunday we were to visit the cathedral in great state. 
M. de Remusat went early in the morning to the church, to 
arrange the ceremony. He had been directed not to object 
to any honor which the clergy might propose to pay to the 
First Consul on this occasion. As, however, it was arranged 
that the priests should go to the great doors with the canopy 
and the cross to receive the First Consul, a question arose 
whether Mme. Bonaparte was to share this distinction with 
him, and Bonaparte did not venture to bring her so promi- 
nently forward. She was, therefore, placed in a tribune 
with the Second Consul. At twelve o'clock, the hour agreed 
upon, the clergy left the altar, and proceeded to the grand 

* Bonaparte, knowing that in Belgium he would have to deal with religious 
people, took Cardinal Caprera with him. The Cardinal was extremely useful. 


entrance of the magnificent Church of Sainte Gudule. They 
awaited the arrival of the First Consul, but he did not ap- 
pear. At first they were astonished, then alarmed ; but they 
presently perceived that he had slipped into the church, and 
seated himself on the throne which was prepared for him. 
The priests, surprised and disconcerted, returned to the sanc- 
tuary, and commenced divine service. The fact was, just as 
he was setting out, Bonaparte was told that, at a similar 
ceremony, Charles Y. had preferred to enter the Church of 
Sainte Gudule by a little side-door which had ever after been 
called by his name ; and it seemed he had taken a fancy to 
use the same entrance, hoping, perhaps, that henceforth it 
would be called the door of Charles Y. and of Bonaparte. 

One morning the numerous and magnificent regiments 
which had been brought to Brussels were reviewed by the 
Consul, or, as on this occasion I ought to call him, the Gen- 
eral. His reception by the troops was nothing short of rap- 
turous. It was well worth seeing how he talked to the sol- 
diers how he questioned them one after the other respect- 
ing their campaigns or their wounds ; taking particular in- 
terest in the men who had accompanied him to Egypt. I 
have heard Mme. Bonaparte say that her husband was in the 
constant habit of poring over the list of what are called the 
cadres of the army, at night, before he slept. He would go 
to sleep repeating the names of the corps, and even those of 
some of the individuals who composed them ; he kept those 
names in a corner of his memory, and this habit came to his 
aid when he wanted to recognize a soldier, and to give him 
the pleasure of a cheering word from his General. He spoke 
to the subalterns in a tone of good fellowship, which de- 
lighted them all, as he reminded them of their common feats 
of arms. Afterward, when his armies became so numerous, 
when his battles became so deadly, he disdained to exercise 
this kind of fascination. Besides, death had extinguished so 
many remembrances, that in a few years it became difficult 
for him to find any great number of the companions of his 

M. MONGE. 87 

early exploits ; and, when lie addressed his soldiers before 
leading them into battle, it was as a perpetually renewed 
posterity, to which the preceding and destroyed army had 
bequeathed its glory. But even this somber style of en- 
couragement availed for a long time with a nation which be- 
lieved itself to be fulfilling its destiny while sending its sons 
year after year to die for Bonaparte. 

I have said that Bonaparte took great pleasure in recall- 
ing his campaign in Egypt; it was, indeed, his favorite 
theme of discourse. He had taken with him, on the journey 
I am describing, M. Monge the savant, whom he had made 
a senator, and whom he liked particularly, for the sole reason 
that he was among the number of the members of the Insti- 
tute who had gone with him to Egypt. Bonaparte often 
talked to him of that expedition " that land of poetry," he 
would say, " which was trodden by Caesar and Pompey." He 
would speak with enthusiasm of the time when he appeared 
before the amazed Orientals like a new Prophet; for the 
sway he exercised over imagination, being the most complete 
of all, he prized more highly than any other. " In France," 
he said, " one must conquer everything at the point of de- 
monstration. In Egypt we did not require our mathematics ; 
did we, Monge ? " 

It was at Brussels that I began to get accustomed to M. 
de Talleyrand, and to shake off the earlier impression made 
by his disdainful manner and sarcastic disposition. The idle- 
ness of a court life makes the day seem a hundred hours 
long, and it happened that we often passed many of those 
hours together in the salon, waiting until it should please 
Bonaparte to come in or to go out. It was during one of 
these weary waits that I heard M. de Talleyrand complain 
that his family had not realized any of the plans he had 
formed for them. His brother, Archambault de Perigord, 
had just been sent into exile for having indulged in the sar- 
castic language common to the family. He had, however, 
applied it to persons of rank too high to be ridiculed with 


impunity, and he had also offended by refusing to give his 
daughter in marriage to Eugene de Beauharnais, to whom 
he had preferred Count Just de Noailles. M. de Talleyrand, 
who was quite as anxious as Mme. Bonaparte that his niece 
should marry Beauharnais, blamed his brother's conduct 
severely, and I could perfectly understand that such an alli- 
ance would have been advantageous to his personal policy. 
One of the first things that struck me, when I had talked for 
a little while with M. de Talleyrand, was the entire absence 
of any kind of illusion or enthusiasm on his part with regard 
to all that was passing around us. Every one else was more 
or less under the influence of feelings of this kind. The 
implicit obedience of the military officers might easily pass 
for zeal, and, in the case of some of them, it really was devo- 
tion. The ministers affected or felt profound admiration ; 
M. Maret paraded his worship of the First Consul on every 
occasion ; Berthier was happy in the sincerity of his attach- 
ment ; in short, every one seemed to feel something. M. de 
Remusat tried to like his post, and to esteem the man who 
had conferred it on him. As for myself, I cultivated every 
opportunity of emotion and of self-deception ; and the calm 
indifference of M. de Talleyrand amazed me. " Good heav- 
ens ! " I said to him on one occasion, " how is it possible that 
you can live and work without experiencing any emotion 
either from what passes around us, or from your own ac- 
tions ? " " Ah ! what a woman you are, and how young ! " 
he replied: and then he began to ridicule me, as he did 
every one else. His jests wounded my feelings, yet they 
made me laugh. I was angry with myself for being amused, 
and yet, because my vanity was pleased at my own compre- 
hension of his wit, less shocked than I ought to have been 
at the hardness of his heart. However, I did not yet 
know him, and it was not till much later, when I had got 
over the restraint that he imposed on every one at first, 
that I observed the curious mixture of qualities in his 


On leaving Brussels we went to Liege and Maestricht, 
and reentered the former boundaries of France by way of 
Mezieres and Sedan. Mine. Bonaparte was charming during 
this journey, and left an impression on my mind of her kind- 
ness and graciousness which, as I found fifteen years after- 
ward, time could not efface. 

I was delighted to return to Paris, and to find myself 
once more among my family and free from the restraint of 
court life. M. ,de Remusat, like myself, was tired of the idle 
yet restless pomp of the last six weeks ; and we rejoiced in 
the quiet of our happy home. 

On his return to Saint Cloud, Bonaparte and Mme. Bona- 
parte received complimentary addresses from the Corps Le- 
gislatif , the tribunals, etc. ; the First Consul also received a 
visit from the Corps Diplomatique. Shortly after this, he 
enhanced the dignity of the Legion of Honor by appointing 
M. de Lacepede its Chancellor. Since the fall of Bonaparte, 
certain liberal writers, and among others Mme. de Stael, have 
endeavored to stigmatize that institution by reviving the re- 
collection of an English caricature which represented Bona- 
parte cutting up the bonnet rouge of the Revolution to make 
the crosses of the Legion. But, if he had not misused that 
institution as he misused everything, there would have been 
nothing to blame in the invention of a recompense which 
was an inducement to every kind of merit, without being a 
great expense to the State. What splendid deeds on the 
battle-field has that little bit of ribbon inspired ! If it had 
been accorded to merit only in every walk of life, if it had 
never been given from motives of caprice or individual fa- 
vor, it would have been a fine idea to assimilate all services 
rendered to the country, no matter of what nature, and to 
bestow a similar decoration upon them all. The institutions 
of Bonaparte in France ought not to be indiscriminately con- 
demned. Most of them have a commendable purpose, and 
might have been made of advantage to the nation. But his 
insatiable greed of power perverted them. So intolerant 


was he of any obstacles, that he could not even endure those 
which arose from his own institutions, and he instantly set 
them aside by an arbitrary decision. 

Having in the course of this year (1803) created the dif- 
ferent senatorships, he gave a Chancellor, a Treasurer, and 
Praetors to the Senate. M. de Laplace was the Chancellor. 
Bonaparte honored him because he was a savant, and liked 
him because he was a skillful flatterer. The two Praetors 
were General Lefebvre and General Serrurier. M. de Far- 
gues * was the Treasurer. 

The Republican year ended as usual in the middle of 
September, and the anniversary of the Republic was cele- 
brated by popular fetes, and kept with royal pomp at the 
palace of the Tuileries. We heard at the same time that the 
Hanoverians, who had been conquered by General Mortier, 
had celebrated the First Consul's birthday with great rejoic- 
ings. Thus, by degrees, by appearing at first at the head 
of all, and then quite alone, he accustomed Europe to see 
France in his person only, and presented himself everywhere 
as the sole representative of the nation. 

Bonaparte, who well knew that he would meet with re- 
sistance from those who held by the old ways of thinking, 
applied himself early and skillfully to gain the young, to 
whom he opened all the doors of advancement in life. He 
attached auditors to the different ministries, and gave free 
scope to ambition, whether in military or in civil careers. 
He often said that he preferred to every other advantage that 
of governing a new people, and the youthful generation af- 
forded him that novelty. 

The institution of the jury was also discussed in that 
year. I have heard that Bonaparte himself had no liking for 
it ; but, as he intended later on to govern rather by himself 
than with the assistance of assemblies which he feared, he 
was obliged to make some concessions to their most distin- 
guished members. By degrees, all the laws were presented 

* M. de Fargues had been useful to Bonaparte on the 18th Brumaire. 


to the Council by the ministers, and were either changed 
into decrees, which, without any other sanction, were put in 
force from one end of France to the other ; or else, having 
been received with the silent approbation of the Corps Legis- 
latif , they were passed with no more trouble than that im- 
posed upon reporters of the Council, who had to preface 
them by a discourse, so that they might have some show of 
necessity. Lyceums were also established in all the impor- 
tant towns, and the study of ancient languages, which had 
been abolished during the Revolution, was again made obli- 
gatory in public education. 

It was at this time that the flotilla of flat-bottomed boats 
which was to be used for the invasion of England was being 
constructed. Day by day it was more confidently asserted 
that in fine weather it would be possible for the flotilla to 
reach the shores of England without being impeded by ships 
of war. It was said that Bonaparte himself would command 
the expedition, and such an enterprise did not seem to be be- 
yond the bounds of his daring or of his good fortune. Our 
newspapers represented England as agitated and alarmed, 
and in reality the English Government was not quite exempt 
from fear on the subject. The " Moniteur " still complained 
bitterly of the English liberal journals, and the gauntlet of 
wordy war was taken up on both sides. In France the law 
of conscription was put in action, and large bodies of troops 
were raised. Sometimes people asked what was the mean- 
ing of this great armament, and of such paragraphs as the 
following, which appeared in the " Moniteur " : " The Eng- 
lish journalists suspect that the great preparations for war, 
which the First Consul has just commenced in Italy, are in- 
tended for an Egyptian expedition." 

No explanation was given. The French nation placed 
confidence in Bonaparte of a kind like that which some 
credulous minds feel in magic ; and, as his success was be- 
lieved to be infallible, it was not difficult to obtain a tacit 
consent to all his operations from a people naturally prone 


to worship success. At that time a few wise heads began to 
perceive that he would not be useful to us ; but, as the gen- 
eral dread of the Revolutionary Government still proclaimed 
him to be necessary, no opposition could be made to his au- 
thority without the risk of facilitating the revolt of that 
party, which it was believed he alone could control. 

In the mean time he was always active and energetic ; 
and, as it did not suit him that the public mind should be 
left to repose, which leads to reflection, he aroused appre- 
hension and disturbance in every way that might be useful 
to himself. A letter from the Comte d'Artois, taken from 
the " Morning Chronicle," was printed about this time ; it 
offered the services of the emigres to the King of England, 
in case of a descent upon his coasts. Rumors were spread 
of certain attempts made in the eastern departments ; and 
since the war in La Yendee had been followed by the in- 
glorious proceedings of the Chouans, people had become 
accustomed to the idea that any political movement set on 
foot in that part of France had pillage and incendiarism for 
its objects. In fact, there seemed no chance of quietness 
except in the duration of the established Government ; and 
when certain friends of liberty deplored its loss for the 
new liberal institutions were of little value in their eyes be- 
cause they were the work of absolute power they were met 
with the following argument, which was perhaps justified 
by circumstances : " After the storm through which we have 
passed, and amid the strife of so many parties, superior force 
only can give us liberty ; and, so long as that force tends to 
promote principles of order and morality, we ought not to 
regard ourselves as straying from the right road ; for the 
creator will disappear, but that which he has created will 
remain with us." 

While more or less disturbance was thus kept up by his 
orders, Bonaparte himself maintained a peaceful attitude. 
He had returned to his usual orderly and busy life at Saint 
Cloud, and we passed our days as I have already described. 


His brothers were all employed * Joseph, at the camp of 
Boulogne ; Louis, at the Council of State ; Jerome, the 
youngest, in America, whither he had been sent, and where 
he was well received by the Anglo-Americans. Bonaparte's 
sisters, who were now in the enjoyment of wealth, vied with 
each other in the decoration of the houses which the First 
Consul had given them, and in the luxury of their furni- 
ture and equipment. Eugene de Beauharnais occupied him- 
self exclusively in his military duties ; his sister lived a dull 
and quiet life. 

Mme. Leclerc had inspired Prince Borghese (who had 
not long arrived in France from Rome) with an ardent 
attachment, which she returned. The Prince asked her 
hand of Bonaparte, but his demand was at first refused. I 
do not know what the motive of his refusal was, but think 
it may perhaps have been dictated by his vanity, which 
would have been hurt by the supposition that he desired to 
be relieved of any family claims ; and probably, also, he did 
not wish to appear to accept a first proposal with alacrity. 
But, as the liaison between his sister and the Prince became 
publicly known, the Consul consented at last to legitimize it 
by a marriage, which took place at Mortefontaine while he 
was at Boulogne. 

He set out to visit the camp and the flotilla on the 3d of 
November, 1803. This time his journey was of an entirely 
military character. He was accompanied only by the gen- 
erals of his guard, by his aides-de-camp, and by M. de Re- 

When they arrived at Pont de Briques, a little village 
about a league from Boulogne, where Bonaparte had fixed 
his headquarters, my husband fell dangerously ill. So soon 
as I heard of his illness I set out to join him, and arrived at 
Pont de Briques in the middle of the night. Entirely occu- 
pied by my anxiety, I had thought of nothing but of the 

* It was at the end of the autumn or the beginning of winter, in 1803, that 
Lucien married Mme. Jouberthon and quarreled with his brother. 


state in which I should find the invalid. But, when I got 
out of the carriage, I was rather disconcerted by finding 
myself alone in the midst of a camp, and not knowing what 
the First Consul would think of my arrival. I was reassured, 
however, by the servants, who told me I was expected, and 
that a room had been set apart for me two days before. I 
passed the remainder of the night there, waiting until day- 
light before I saw my husband, as I did not like to risk dis- 
turbing him. I found him greatly pulled down by illness, 
but he was so rejoiced/ to see me that I congratulated myself 
on having come without asking permission. 

In the morning Bonaparte sent for me. I was so agitated 
that I could hardly speak. He saw this the moment I en- 
tered the room, and he kissed me, made me sit down, and 
restored me to composure by his first words. " I was expect- 
ing you," he said. " Your presence will cure your husband." 
At these words I burst into tears. He appeared touched, 
and endeavored to console me. Then he directed me to 
come every day to dine and breakfast with him, laughing as 
he said, " I must look after a woman of your age among so 
many soldiers." He asked me how I had left his wife. A 
little while before his departure some more secret visits from 
Mile. Georges had given rise to fresh domestic disagreements. 
" She troubles herself," he said, " a great deal more than is 
necessary. Josephine is always afraid that I shall fall seri- 
ously in love. Does she not know, then, that I am not made 
for love ? For what is love ? A passion which sets all the 
universe on one side, and on the other the beloved object. 
I certainly am not of a nature to give myself up to any such 
exclusive feeling. What, then, do these fancies, into which 
my affections do not enter, matter to her ? This," he con- 
tinued, looking at me seriously, " is what her friends ought 
to dwell upon ; and, above all, they ought not to try to in- 
crease their influence over her by fostering her jealousy." 
There was in his last words a tone of suspicion and severity 
which I did not deserve, and I think he knew that very 


well ; but lie never missed an opportunity of carrying out 
his favorite system, which was to keep one's mind what he 
called " breathless " ; that is to say, constantly anxious. 

He remained at Pont de Briques for ten days after I ar- 
rived there. My husband's malady was a painful one, but 
the doctors were not alarmed. With the exception of one 
quarter of an hour during which the First Consul's break- 
fast lasted, I spent the morning with my dear invalid. Bona- 
parte went to the camp every day, reviewed the troops, 
visited the flotilla, and assisted at some slight skirmishes, or 
rather at an exchange of cannon-balls, between us and the 
English, who constantly cruised in front of the harbor and 
tried to molest our workmen. 

At six o'clock Bonaparte returned, and then I was sum- 
moned. Occasionally some of the officers of his household, 
the Minister of Marine or the Minister of Public Works, 
who had accompanied him, were invited to dinner. At 
other times we dined tete-d-tete, and then he talked on a 
multitude of subjects. He spoke of his own character, and 
described himself as having always been of a melancholy 
temperament far more so than any of his comrades. My 
memory has faithfully preserved all he said to me. The 
following is a correct summary of it : 

" I was educated," he said, " at a military school, and I 
showed no aptitude for anything but the exact sciences. 
Every one said of me, ( That child will never be good for 
anything but geometry.' I kept aloof from my schoolfel- 
lows. I had chosen a little corner in the school-grounds, 
where I would sit and dream at my ease ; for I have always 
liked reverie. When my companions tried to usurp posses- 
sion of this corner, I defended it with all my might. I al- 
ready knew by instinct that my will was to override that of 
others, and that what pleased me was to belong to me. I 
was not liked at school. It takes time to make one's self 
liked ; and, even when I had nothing to do, I always felt 

vaguely that I had no time to lose. 
5 J 10 


" I entered the service, and soon grew tired of garrison 
work. I began to read novels, and they interested me deep- 
ly. I even tried to write some. This occupation brought 
out something in my imagination which mingled itself with 
the positive knowledge I had acquired ; and I often let my- 
self dream, in order that I might afterward measure my 
dreams by the compass of my reason. I threw myself into 
an ideal world, and I endeavored to find out in what precise 
points it differed from the actual world in which I lived. I 
have always liked analysis ; and, if I were to be seriously in 
love, I should analyze my love bit by bit. Why f and How f 
are questions so useful that they can not be too often asked. 
I conquered, rather than studied, history ; that is to say, I 
did not care to retain, and did not retain, anything that could 
not give me a new idea ; I disdained all that was useless, but 
took possession of certain results which pleased me. 

" I did not understand much about the Revolution, but I 
approved of it. Equality, which was to elevate myself, at- 
tracted me. On the 20th of June I was in Paris, and I saw 
the populace marching upon the Tuileries. I have never 
liked popular movements, and I was indignant at the violent 
deeds of that day. I thought the ringleaders in the attack 
very imprudent, for I said to myself, ( It is not they who will 
profit by this revolution.' But, when I was told that Louis 
had put the red cap on his head, I came to the conclusion 
that he had ceased to reign ; for in politics there is no resur- 

" On the 10th of August I felt that, had I been called 
upon, I would have defended the King. I set myself against 
those who founded the Republic by the people. Besides, I 
saw men in plain clothes attacking men in uniform, and I 
could not stand that. 

" One evening I was at the theatre ; it was the 12th Ven- 
de*miaire. I heard it said about me that next day du train 
might be looked for. You know that was the usual expres- 
sion of the Parisians, who regarded the various changes of 


government with indifference, as those changes did not dis- 
turb their business, their pleasures, or even their dinners. 
After the Terror, people were satisfied with anything, so 
that they were allowed to live quietly. 

" I heard it said that the Assembly was sitting in per- 
manence ; I went there, and found all confusion and hesita- 
tion. Suddenly I heard a voice say from the middle of the 
hall, ' If any one here knows the address of General Bona- 
parte, he is begged to go and tell him that he is expected at 
the Committee of the Assembly.' I have always observed 
with interest how chance interferes in certain events, and 
this chance decided me. I went to the Committee. 

"There I found several terrified deputies, Cambaceres 
among others. They expected to be attacked the next day, 
and they could not come to any resolution. They asked my 
advice ; I answered by asking for guns. This proposition so 
alarmed them that the whole night passed without their com- 
ing to any decision. In the morning there was very bad 
news. Then they put the whole business into my hands, 
and afterward began to discuss whether they had the right 
to repel force by force. ' Are you going to wait,' I asked 
them, * until the people give you permission to fire upon 
them ? I am committed in this matter ; you have appointed 
me to defend you ; it is right that you should leave me to 
act.' Thereupon I left these lawyers to stultify themselves 
with words. I put the troops in motion, and pointed two 
cannons with terrible effect from Saint Koch ; the army of 
citizens and the conspirators were swept away in an instant. 

" But I had shed Parisian blood ! "What sacrilege ! It 
was necessary to obliterate the effect of such a deed. I felt 
myself more and more urgently called upon to do something. 
I asked for the command of the army of Italy. Everything 
had to be put in order in that army, both men and things. 
Only youth can have patience, because it has the future 
before it. I set out for Italy with ill-trained soldiers, who 
were, however, full of zeal and daring. In the midst of the 


troops I had wagons placed, and escorted on the march, al- 
though they were empty. These I called the treasure-chests 
of the army. I put it in the order of the day that shoes 
should be distributed to the recruits: no one would wear 
them. I promised my soldiers that fortune and glory should 
await us behind the Alps; I kept my word, and ever since 
then the army would follow me to the end of the world. 

" I made a splendid campaign ; I became a person of im- 
portance in Europe. On the one hand, with the assistance 
of my orders of the day, I maintained the revolutionary sys- 
tem ; on the other hand, I secretly conciliated the emigres 
by allowing them to form certain hopes. It is easy to de- 
ceive that party, because it starts always not from what exists, 
but from what it wishes to believe. I received magnificent 
offers of recompense if I would follow the example of General 
Monk ; the Pretender even wrote to me in his vague and 
florid style ; I conquered the Pope more effectually by not 
going to Rome than if I had burned his capital. In short, 
I became important and formidable ; and the Directory, al- 
though I made them very uneasy, could not bring any formal 
accusation against me. 

" I have been reproached with having favored the 18th 
Fructidor ; they might as well reproach me with having sup- 
ported the Revolution. It was necessary to take advantage 
of the Revolution, and to derive some profit from the blood 
that had been shed. What ! were we to give ourselves up 
unconditionally to the princes of the house of Bourbon, who 
would have thrown in our teeth all the misfortunes we had 
suffered since their departure, and would have imposed si- 
lence upon us, because we had solicited their return ? Were 
we to exchange our victorious flag for that white banner 
which had mingled with the standards of our enemies ? Was 
I to content myself with a few millions and a petty duke- 
dom ? The part of Monk is not a difficult one to play ; it 
would have given me less trouble than the Egyptian cam- 
paign, or even than the 18th Brumaire; but can anything 


teach princes who have never seen a battle-field ? To what 
did the return of Charles II. lead the English, except the de- 
thronement of James II. ? Had it been necessary, I should 
certainly have dethroned the Bourbons a second time, so that 
the best thing they could have done would have been to get 
rid of me. 

" "When I returned to France, I found public opinion in 
a lethargic condition. In Paris and Paris is France peo- 
ple can never interest themselves in things if they do not 
care about persons. The customs of an old monarchy had 
taught them to personify everything. This habit of mind is 
bad for a people who desire liberty seriously ; but French- 
men can no longer desire anything seriously, except perhaps 
it be equality ; and even that they would renounce willingly 
if every one could flatter himself that he was the first. To 
be equals, with everybody uppermost, is the secret of the 
vanity of all of you ; every man among you must, therefore, 
be given the hope of rising. The great difficulty of the Di- 
rectory was that no one cared about them, and that people 
began to care a good deal about me. 

" I do not know what would have happened to me had I 
not conceived the happy thought of going to Egypt. When 
I embarked I did not know but that I might be bidding an 
eternal farewell to France ; but I had no doubt that she 
would recall me. The charm of Oriental conquest drew my 
thoughts away from Europe more than I should have believed 
possible. My imagination interfered this time again with my 
actions ; but I think it died out at Saint Jean d' Acre. How- 
ever that may be, I shall never allow it to interfere with me 

" In Egypt I found myself free from the wearisome re- 
straints of civilization. I dreamed all sorts of things, and I 
saw how all that I dreamed might be realized. I created a 
religion. I pictured myself on the road to Asia, mounted on 
an elephant, with a turban on my head, and in my hand a 
new Koran, which I should compose according to my own 


ideas. I would have the combined experience of two worlds 
to set about my enterprise ; I was to have ransacked, for my 
own advantage, the whole domain of history ; I was to have 
attacked the English power in India, and renewed my rela- 
tions with old Europe by my conquest. The time which I 
passed in Egypt was the most delightful part of my life, for 
it was the most ideal. Fate decided against my dreams ; I 
received letters from France ; I saw that there was not a 
moment to lose. I reverted to the realities of life, and I 
returned to Paris to Paris, where the gravest interests of 
the country are discussed in the entr'acte of an opera. 

" The Directory trembled at my return. I was very cau- 
tious ; that is one of the epochs of my life in which I have 
acted with the soundest judgment. I saw the Abbe Sieyes, 
and promised him that his verbose constitution should be put 
into effect ; I received the chiefs of the Jacobins and the 
agents of the Bourbons; I listened to advice from every- 
body, but I only gave it in the interest of my own plans. I 
hid myself from the people, because I knew that when the 
time came curiosity to see me would make them run after 
me. Every one was taken in my toils ; and, when I became 
the head of the State, there was not a party in France which 
did not build some special hope upon my success." 



Continuation of the First Consul's Conversations at Boulogne Reading of the 
Tragedy of "Philippe Auguste" My new Impressions Return to Paris 
Mme. Bonaparte's Jealousy Winter Fetes of 1804 M. de Fontanes M. 
Fouche" Savary Pichegru Arrest of General Moreau. 

ONE evening, while we were at Boulogne, Bonaparte 
turned the conversation upon literature. Lemercier, the 
poet, whom Bonaparte liked, had just finished a tragedy, 
called " Philippe Auguste," which contained allusions to the 
First Consul, and had brought the manuscript to him. Bo- 
naparte took it into his head to read this production aloud to 
me. It was amusing to hear a man, who was always in a 
hurry when he had nothing to do, trying to read Alexandrine 
verses, of which he did not know the meter, and pronouncing 
them so badly that he did not seem to understand what he 
read. Besides, he no sooner opened any book than he wanted 
to criticise it. I asked him to give me the manuscript, and 
I read it out myself. Then he began to talk ; he took the 
play out of my hand, struck out whole passages, made several 
marginal notes, and found fault with the plot and the char- 
acters. He did not run much risk of spoiling the piece, for 
it was very bad.* Singularly enough, when he had done 
reading, he told me he did not wish the author to know that 
all these erasures and corrections were made by so important 
a hand, and he directed me to take them upon myself. I 
objected to this, as may be supposed. I had great difficulty 

* This piece was never acted, nor, I believe, printed. P. R. 


in convincing him that, as it might be thought strange that 
even he should thus have meddled with an author's manu- 
script, it would be contrary to all the convenances for me to 
have taken such a liberty. " Well, well," said he, " perhaps 
you are right ; but on this, as on every other occasion, I own 
I do not like that vague and leveling phrase, the convenances, 
which you women are always using. It is a device of fools 
to raise themselves to the level of people of intellect ; a sort 
of social gag, which obstructs the strong mind and only serves 
the weak. It may be all very well for women : they have 
not much to do in this life ; but you must be aware that I, 
for example, can not be bound by the convenances? 

" But," I replied, " is not the application of these laws to 
the conduct of life like that of the dramatic unities to the 
drama? They give order and regularity, and they do not 
really trammel genius, except when it would, without their 
control, err against good taste." 

" Ah, good taste ! That is another of those classical 
words which I do not adopt.* It is perhaps my own fault, 
but there are certain rules which mean nothing to me. For 
example, what is called ' style,' good or bad, does not affect 
me. I care only for the force of the thought. I used to 
like Ossian, but it was for the same reason which made me 
delight in the murmur of the winds and waves. In Egypt 
I tried to read the ' Iliad ' ; but I got tired of it. As for 
French poets, I understand none of them except Corneille. 
That man understood politics, and if he had been trained to 
public afMrs he would have been a statesman. I think I 
appreciate him more truly than any one else does, because I 
exclude all the dramatic sentiments from my view of him. 
For example, it is only lately I have come to understand the 
denouement of i Cinna.' At first I regarded it as merely a 
contrivance for a pathetic fifth act; for really, clemency, 

* M. de Talleyrand once said to the Emperor, " Good taste is your personal 
enemy ; if you could have got rid of it by cannon-balls, it would long ago have 
ceased to exist." 


properly speaking, is such a poor little virtue, when it is not 
founded on policy, that to turn Augustus suddenly into a 
kind-hearted prince appeared to me an unworthy climax. 
However, I saw Monvel act in the tragedy one night, and 
the mystery of the great conception was revealed to me. He 
pronounced the 'Soyons amis, Cinna,' in so cunning and 
subtle a tone, that I saw at once the action was only a feint 
of the tyrant, and I approved as a calculation what had ap- 
peared to me silly as a sentiment. The line should always 
be so delivered that, of all those who hear it, only Cinna is 

" As for Racine, he pleases me in c Iphigenie.' That piece, 
while it lasts, makes one breathe the poetic air of Greece. 
In ' Britannicus ' he has been trammeled by Tacitus, against 
whom I am prejudiced, because he does not sufficiently ex- 
plain his meaning. The tragedies of Yoltaire are passionate, 
but they do not go deeply into human nature. For instance, 
his Mahomet is neither a prophet nor an Arab. He is an 
impostor, who might have been educated at the ICcole Poly- 
technique, for he uses power as I might use it in an age like 
the present. And then, the murder of the father by the son 
is a useless crime. " Great men are never cruel except from 

u As for comedy, it interests me about as much as the 
gossip of your drawing-rooms. I understand your admira- 
tion of Moliere, but I do not share it ; he has placed his per- 
sonages in situations which have no attractions for me." 

From these observations it is plain that Bonaparte cared 
only to observe human nature when it was struggling with 
the great chances of life, and that man in the abstract inter- 
ested him but little. In conversations of this kind the time 
I spent at Boulogne with the First Consul was passed, and it 
was at the close of my sojourn there that I underwent the 
first experience that inspired me with mistrust of persons 
among whom I was obliged to live at Court. The officers 
of the household could not believe that a woman might re- 


main for hours together with their master, simply talking 
with him on matters of general interest, and they drew con- 
clusions which were injurious to my character. I may now 
venture to say that the purity of my mind, and my life-long 
attachment to my husband, prevented my even conceiving 
the possibility of such a suspicion as that which was formed 
in the Consul's ante-chamber, while I was conversing with 
him in his salon. When Bonaparte returned to Paris, his 
aides-de-camp talked about my long interviews with him, and 
Mme. Bonaparte took fright at their stories ; so that when, 
after a month's stay at Pont de Briques, my husband was suf- 
ficiently recovered to bear the journey, and we returned to 
Paris, my jealous patroness received me coldly. 

I returned full of gratitude toward the First Consul. He 
had received me so kindly ; he had shown such interest in 
the state of my husband's health ; his attention to me had so 
much soothed my troubled and anxious mind, and had been 
so great a resource in that solitary place ; and I was so much 
flattered by the pleasure he seemed to take in my society, 
that on my return I told every one, with the eager gratitude 
of one twenty-three years old, of the extreme kindness he 
had shown me. My friend, who was rea"lly attached to me, 
advised me to be careful of my words, and apprised me of 
the impression they had made. I remember to this hour that 
her hint struck like a dagger to my heart. It was the first 
time I had suffered injustice ; my youth and all my feelings 
revolted against such an accusation. Stern experience only 
can steel us against the unjust judgments of the world, and 
perhaps we ought to regret the time when they had the pow- 
er to wound us deeply. My friend's warning had, however, 
explained Mme. Bonaparte's conduct toward me. One day, 
when I was more hurt by this than usual, I could not refrain 
from saying to her, with tears in my eyes, " What, madame ! 
do you suspect me ? " As she was very kind and always 
easily touched by passing emotions, she embraced me, and 
thenceforth treated me with her former cordiality. But she 


did not understand my feelings. There was nothing in her 
mind which corresponded to my just indignation ; and, with- 
out endeavoring to ascertain whether my relations with her 
husband at Bolougne had been such as they were represented 
to her, she was content to conclude that in any case the affair 
had been merely temporary, since I did not, when under her 
own eyes, depart from my usual reserve toward Bonaparte. 
In order to justify herself, she told me that the Bonaparte 
family had spread injurious reports against me during my 
absence. " Do you not perceive," I asked her, " that, rightly 
or wrongly, it is believed here that my tender attachment to 
you, madame, makes me clear-sighted to what is going on, 
and that, feeble as my counsels are, they may help you to act 
with prudence ? Political jealousy spreads suspicion broad- 
cast everywhere, and, insignificant as I am, I do believe they 
want to make you quarrel with me." Mme. Bonaparte agreed 
in the truth of my observation ; but she had not the least 
idea that I could feel aggrieved because it had not occurred 
to herself in the first instance. She acknowledged that she 
had reproached her husband about me, and he had evidently 
amused himself by leaving her in doubt. These occurrences 
opened my eyes about the people among whom I lived to an 
extent which alarmed me and upset all my former feelings 
toward them. I began to feel that the ground which I had 
trodden until then with all the confidence of ignorance was 
not firm ; I knew that from the kind of annoyance I had just 
experienced I should never again be free. 

The First Consul, on leaving Boulogne, had declared, in 
the order of the day, that he was pleased with the army ; 
and in the "Moniteur" of November 12, 1803, we read the 
following : " It was remarked as a presage that, in the course 
of the excavations for the First Consul's camp, a war hatchet 
was found, which probably belonged to the Roman army 
that invaded Britain. There were also medals of William 
the Conqueror found at Ambleteuse, where the First Con- 
sul's -tent was pitched. It must be admitted that these cir- 


cumstances are singular, and they appear still more strange 
when it is borne in mind that when General Bonaparte vis- 
ited the ruins of Pelusium, in Egypt, he found there a me- 
dallion of Julius Caesar." 

The allusion was not a very fortunate one, for, notwith- 
standing the medallion of Julius Caesar, Bonaparte was 
obliged to leave Egypt ; but these little parallels, dictated 
by the ingenious flattery of M. Maret, pleased his master 
immensely, and Bonaparte was confident that they were not 
without effect upon the country. 

In the journals every effort was made at that time to 
excite the popular imagination on the subject of the invasion 
of England. I do not know whether Bonaparte really be- 
lieved that such an adventure was possible, but he appeared 
to do so, and the expense incurred in the construction of flat- 
bottomed boats was considerable. The war of words be- 
tween the English newspapers and the " Moniteur " con- 
tinued. We read in the " Times," " It is said that the 
French have made Hanover a desert, and they are now about 
to abandon it " ; to which a note in the " Moniteur " imme- 
diately replied, " Yes, when you abandon Malta." The 
Bishops issued pastorals, in which they exhorted the nation 
to arm itself for a just war. " Choose men of good courage," 
said the Bishop of Arras, " and go forth to fight Amalek. 
Bossuet has said, ' To submit to the public orders is to sub- 
mit to the orders of God, who establishes empires.' 5: 

This quotation from Bossuet reminds me of a story 
which M. Bourlier, the Bishop of Evreux, used to tell. It 
related to the time when the Council was assembled at Paris 
with a view to inducing the Bishops to oppose the decrees 
of the Pope. " Sometimes," said the Bishop of Evreux, 
" the Emperor would have us all summoned, and would be- 
gin a theological discussion with us. He would address him- 
self to the most recalcitrant among us, and say, ' My religion 
is that of Bossuet ; he is my Father of the Church ; he de- 
fended our liberties. I want to commence his work and to 

WINTER FfiTES OF 1804. 107 

maintain your dignity. Do you understand me ? ' Speak- 
ing thus, and pale with anger, he would clap his hand on the 
hilt of his sword. The ardor with which he was ready to 
defend us made me tremble, and this singular amalgamation 
of the name of Bossuet and the word liberty, with his own 
threatening gestures, would have made me smile if I had 
not been too heavy-hearted at the prospect of the hard times 
which I foresaw for the Church." 

I now return to the winter of 1804. This winter passed 
as the preceding one had done, in balls and fetes at Court 
and in Paris, and in the organization of the new laws which 
were presented to the Corps Legislatif. Mme. Bacciochi, 
who had a very decided liking for M. de Fontanes, spoke of 
him so often at that time to her brother, that her influence, 
added to Bonaparte's own high opinion of the academician, 
determined him to make M. de Fontanes President of the 
Corps Legislatif. This selection appeared strange to some 
people ; but a man of letters would do as well as any other 
President for what Bonaparte intended to make of the Corps 
Legislatif. M. de Fontanes had to deliver harangues to the 
Emperor under most difficult circumstances, but he always 
acquitted himself with grace and distinction. He had but 
little strength of character, but his ability told when he had 
to speak in public, and his good taste lent him dignity and 
impressiveness. Perhaps that was not an advantage for 
Bonaparte. Nothing is so dangerous for sovereigns as to 
have their abuses of power clothed in the glowing colors of 
eloquence, when they figure before nations ; and this is es- 
pecially dangerous in France, where forms are held in such 
high esteem. How often have the Parisians, although in 
the secret of the farce the Government was acting, lent them- 
selves to the deception with a good grace, simply because 
the actors did justice to that delicacy of taste which de- 
mands that each shall do his best with the role assigned 
to him ? 

In the course of the month of January, the "Moniteur" 


published a selection of articles from the English journals, in 
which the differences between Bavaria and Austria, and the 
probabilities of a continental war, were discussed. Para- 
graphs of this kind were from time to time inserted in the 
newspapers, without any comment, as if to prepare us for 
what might happen. These intimations like the clouds 
over mountain summits, which fall apart for a moment now 
and then, and afford a glimpse of what is passing behind 
allowed us to have momentary peeps at the important dis- 
cussions which were taking place in Europe, so that we 
should not be much surprised when they resulted in a rup- 
ture. After each glimpse the clouds would close again, and 
we would remain in darkness until the storm burst. 

I am about to speak of an important epoch, concerning 
which my memory is full and faithful. It is that of the 
conspiracy of Georges Cadoudal, and the crime to which it 
led. With respect to General Moreau, I shall repeat what I 
have heard said, but shall be careful to affirm nothing. I 
think it well to preface this narrative by a brief explanation 
of the state of affairs at that time. Certain persons, some- 
what closely connected with politics, were beginning to as- 
sert that France felt the necessity of hereditary right in the 
governing power. Political courtiers, and honest, sincere 
revolutionists, seeing that the tranquillity of the country de- 
pended on one life, were discussing the instability of the 
Consulate. By degrees the thoughts of all were once more 
turned to monarchy, and this would have had its advantages 
if they could have agreed to establish a monarchy tempered 
by the laws. Revolutions have this great disadvantage, that 
they divide public opinion into an infinite number of varie- 
ties, which are all modified by circumstances. This it is 
which gives opportunity to that despotism which comes after 
revolutions. To restrain the power of Bonaparte, it would 
have been necessary to venture on uttering the word " Lib- 
erty " ; but as, only a few years before, that word had been 
used from one end of France to the other as a disguise for 


the worst kind of slavery, it inspired an unreasonable but 
fatal repugnance. 

The Royalists, finding that day by day Bonaparte was 
departing more widely from the path they had expected he 
would take, were much disturbed. The Jacobins, whose op- 
position the First Consul feared much more, were secretly 
preparing for action, for they perceived that it was to their 
antagonists that the Government was giving guarantees. 
The Concordat, the advances made to the old nobility, the 
destruction of revolutionary equality, all these things consti- 
tuted an encroachment upon them. How happy would 
France have been had Bonaparte contended only against the 
factions! But, to have done that, he must have been ani- 
mated solely by the love of justice, and guided by the coun- 
sels of a generous mind. 

When a sovereign, no matter what his title may be, sides 
with one or other of the violent parties which stir up civil 
strife, it is certain that he has hostile intentions against the 
rights of citizens, who have confided those rights to his keep- 
ing. Bonaparte, in order to fix his despotic yoke upon 
France, found himself obliged to come to terms with the 
Jacobins ; and, unfortunately, there are persons whom no 
guarantee but that of crime will satisfy. Their ally must 
involve himself in some of their iniquities. This motive had 
a great deal to do with the death of the Due d'Enghien ; 
and I am convinced that all which happened at that time was 
the result of no violent feeling, of no blind revenge, but 
simply of a Machiavellian policy, resolved to smooth its own 
path at any cost. Neither was it for the gratification of vani- 
ty that Bonaparte wanted to change his title of Consul for 
that of Emperor. We must not believe that he was always 
ruled by insatiable passions ; he was capable of controlling 
them by calculation, and, if in the end he allowed himself to 
be led away, it was because he became intoxicated by success 
and flattery. The comedy of republican equality, which he 
was obliged to play so long as he remained Consul, annoyed 


him, and in reality only deceived those who were willing to 
be deceived. It resembled the political pretenses of ancient 
Rome, when the Emperors from time to time had themselves 
reflected by the Senate. I have heard persons who, having 
put on the love of liberty like a garment, and yet paid assidu- 
ous court to Bonaparte while he was First Consul, declare 
that they had quite withdrawn their esteem from him so soon 
as he conferred the title of Emperor upon himself. I never 
could understand their argument. How was it possible that 
the authority which he exercised almost from the moment of 
his entrance into the government did not enlighten them as 
to his actual position ? Might it not rather be said that he 
gave a proof of sincerity in his assumption of a title whose 
real powers he exercised ? 

At the epoch of which I am treating, it became necessary 
that the First Consul should strengthen his position by some 
new measure. The English, who had been threatened, were 
secretly exciting disturbances to act as diversions from the 
projects formed against themselves ; their relations with the 
Chouans were resumed ; and the Royalists regarded the Con- 
sular Government as a mere transition state from the Direc- 
tory to the Monarchy. One man only stood in the way ; it 
became easy to conclude that he must be got rid of. 

I remember to have heard Bonaparte say in the summer of 
that year (1804) that for once events had hurried him, and 
that he had not intended to establish royalty until two years 
later. He had placed the police in the hands of the Minis- 
ter of Justice. This was a sound and moral proceeding, but it 
was contradicted by his intention that the magistracy should 
use that police as it had been used when it was a revolution- 
ary institution. I have already said that Bonaparte's first 
ideas were generally good and great. To conceive and carry 
them out was to exercise his power, but to submit to them 
afterward savored of abdication. . He was unable to endure 
the dominion even of any of his own institutions. Restrained 
by the slow and regular forms of justice, and also by the 


feebleness and mediocrity of Ms Chief Judge, he surrounded 
himself with innumerable police agents, and by degrees 
regained confidence in Fouche, who was an adept in the art 
of making himself necessary. Fouche, a man of keen and 
far-seeing intellect, a Jacobin grown rich, and consequently 
disgusted with some of the principles of that party with 
which, however, he still remained connected, so that he 
might have support should trouble arise had no objection 
to invest Bonaparte with royalty. His natural flexibility 
made him always ready to accept any form of government 
in which he saw a post for himself. His habits were more 
revolutionary than his principles, and the only state of things, 
I believe, which he could not have endured, would have been 
one which should make an absolute nonentity of him. To 
make use of him one must thoroughly understand his dispo- 
sition, and be very cautious in dealing with him, remember- 
ing that he needed troublous times for the full display of his 
capacity ; for, as he had no passions and no aversions, he rose at 
such times superior to the generality of those about him, who 
were all more or less actuated by either fear or resentment. 

Fouche has denied that he advised the murder of the Due 
d'Enghien. Unless there is complete certainty of the fact, I 
see no reason for bringing the accusation of a crime against a 
man who positively denies it. Besides, Foiiche, who was 
very far-sighted, must have foreseen that such a deed would 
give only a temporary guarantee to the party which Bona- 
parte wanted to win. He knew the First Consul too well to 
fear that he would think of replacing the King on a throne 
which he might occupy himself , and there is little doubt 
that, with the information he possessed, he would have pro- 
nounced the murder of the Due d'Enghien to be a mistake. 

M. de Talleyrand's plans were also served by his advice 
that Bonaparte should invest himself with royalty. That 
proceeding would suit M. de Talleyrand to a nicety. His 
enemies, and even Bonaparte himself, have accused him of 
having advised the murder of the unhappy prince. But 


Bonaparte and his enemies are not credible on this point ; 
the well-known character of M. de Talleyrand is against the 
truth of the statement. He has said to me more than once 
that Bonaparte informed him and the two Consuls of the 
arrest of the Due d'Enghien and of his own unalterable de- 
termination at the same time. He added that they all three 
saw that words were useless, and therefore kept silence. 
That was indeed a deplorable weakness, but one very com- 
mon to M. de Talleyrand, who would not think of remon- 
strating for the sake of conscience only, when he knew that 
a line of action had been decided upon. Opposition and 
bold resistance may take effect upon any nature, however 
resolute. A sovereign of a cruel and sanguinary disposition 
will sometimes sacrifice his inclination to the force of reason 
arrayed against it. Bonaparte was not cruel either by incli- 
nation or on system ; he merely wanted to carry his point by 
the quickest and surest method. He has himself said that 
at that time he was obliged to get rid of both Jacobins and 
Koyalists. The imprudence of the latter furnished him with 
this fatal opportunity. He seized it ; and what I shall here- 
after have to relate will show that it was with the coolest of 
calculation, or rather of sophistry, that he shed illustrious and 
innocent blood. 

A few days after the first return of the King, the Due 
de Eovigo [General Savary] presented himself at my house 
one morning.* He then tried to clear himself from the 
accusations that were brought against him. He spoke to me 
of the death of the Due d'Enghien. " The Emperor and I," 
he said, " were deceived on that occasion. One of the infe- 
rior agents in Georges Cadoudal's conspiracy had been sub- 
orned by my police. He came to us, and stated that one 
night, when all the conspirators were assembled, the secret 
arrival of an important chief who could not yet be named 

* The Due de Rovigo knew how intimate my husband and I were with M. 
de Talleyrand, and he was anxious to induce us to further his interests in that 


had been announced to them. A few nights later, a person 
appeared among them, to whom the others paid great respect. 
The spy described the unknown so as to give us the impres- 
sion that he was a prince of the house of Bourbon. About 
the same time the Due d'Enghien had established himself 
at Ettenheim, with the intention, no doubt, of awaiting the 
result of the conspiracy. The police agents wrote that he 
sometimes disappeared for several days together. "We con- 
cluded that at these times he came to Paris, and his arrest 
was resolved upon. Afterward, when the spy was confront- 
ed with the persons who had been arrested, he recognized Pi- 
chegru as the important personage of whom he had spoken ; 
and when I told this to Bonaparte he exclaimed, with a 
stamp of his foot, 'Ah, the wretch! what has he made 
me do?'" 

To return to the facts. Pichegru arrived in France on 
the loth of January, 1804, and from the 25th of January was 
concealed in Paris. It was known that, in the year 5 of the 
Eepublic, General Moreau had denounced him to the Govern- 
ment for keeping up relations with the house of Bourbon. 
Moreau was supposed to hold Republican opinions ; but he 
had probably then exchanged them for the idea of a constitu- 
tional monarchy. I do not know whether his family would 
now defend him as earnestly as they did then from the accu- 
sation of having aided the plans of the Royalists, nor do I 
know whether implicit confidence is to be placed on confes- 
sions made in the reign of Louis XVIII. The conduct of 
Moreau in 1813, and the honor paid to his memory by our 
princes, might, however, fairly lead us to believe that they 
had reason to count on him previously. At the period of 
which I am now speaking, Moreau was deeply irritated 
against Bonaparte. It has never been doubted that he visited 
Pichegru in secret ; he certainly kept silence about the con- 
spiracy. Some of the Royalists who were arrested at this 
time declared that he had merely displayed that prudent 
hesitation which waits to declare itself for the success of a 


party. Moreau, it was said, was a feeble and insignificant 
man, except on the field of battle, and overweighted by his 
reputation. " There are persons," said Bonaparte, " who do 
not know how to wear their fame. The part of Monk suited 
Moreau perfectly. In his place I should have acted as he 
did, only more cleverly." 

It is not, however, in order to justify Bonaparte that I 
mention my doubts. Whatever was Moreau's character, his 
fame was real ; it ought to have been respected, and an old 
comrade in arms, grown discontented and embittered, ought 
to have been excused. A reconciliation with him, even if it 
had only been a result of that political calculation which 
Bonaparte discerned in the " Auguste " of Corneille, would 
still have been the wisest proceeding. But I do not doubt 
that Bonaparte was sincerely convinced of what he called 
Moreau's moral treason, and he held that to be sufficient for 
the law and for justice, because he always refused to look at 
the true aspect of anything which was displeasing to himself. 
He was assured that proofs to justify the condemnation of 
Moreau were not wanting. He found himself committed to 
a line of action, and afterward he refused to recognize any- 
thing but party spirit in the equity of the tribunals ; and, 
besides, he knew the most injurious thing which could hap- 
pen to him would be that this interesting prisoner should 
be declared innocent. When he found himself on the point 
of being compromised, he would stop at nothing. From this 
cause arose the deplorable incidents of the famous trial. The 
conspiracy had been a subject of conversation for several 
days. On the 17th of February, 1804, I went to the Tuile- 
ries in the morning. The Consul was in the room with his 
wife ; I was announced and shown in. Mme. Bonaparte was 
in great distress ; her eyes were red with crying. Bonaparte 
was sitting near the fireplace, with little Napoleon * on his 

* The eldest child of Mme. Louis Bonaparte, afterward Queen Hortense. He 
was born on the 10th of October, 1802, and died of croup on the 5th of May, 
1807. P. R. 


knees. He looked grave, but not agitated, and was playing 
mechanically with the child. 

" Do you know what I have done ? " said he. I answered 
in the negative. " I have just given an order for Moreau's 
arrest." 1 could not repress a start. " Ah, you are aston- 
ished," said he. " There will be a great fuss about this, will 
there not ? Of course, it will be said that I am jealous of 
Moreau, that this is revenge, and other petty nonsense of the 
same kind. I jealous of Moreau ! Why, he owes the best 
part of his reputation to me. It was I who left a fine army 
with him, and kept only recruits with myself in Italy. I 
wanted nothing more than to get on well with him. I cer- 
tainly was not afraid of him ; I am not afraid of anybody, 
and less of Moreau than of other people. I have hindered 
him from committing himself twenty times over. I warned 
him that there would be mischief made between us; he 
knew that as well as I did. But he is weak and conceited ; 
he allows women to lead him, and the various parties have 
urged him." 

While he was speaking Bonaparte rose, approached his 
wife, and, taking her by the chin, made her hold up her 
head. " Ha ! " he said, " every one has not got a good wife, 
like me. You are crying, Josephine. What for, eh ? Are 
you frightened ? " " No ; but I don't like to think of what 
will be said." " What ? How can that be helped ? " Then, 
turning to me, he added, " I am not actuated by any enmity 
or any desire of vengeance ; I have reflected deeply before 
arresting Moreau. I might have shut my eyes, and given 
him time to fly, but it would have been said that I did not 
dare to bring him to trial. I have the means of convicting 
him. He is guilty ; I am the Government ; the whole thing 
is quite simple." 

I can not tell whether the power of my old recollections 
^ still upon me, but I confess that even at this moment I can 
hardly believe that when Bonaparte spoke thus he was not 
sincere. I have watched each stage of progress in the art of 


dissimulation, and I know that at that particular epoch he 
still retained certain accents of truthfulness, which after- 
ward were no longer to be detected in his voice. Per- 
haps, however, it was only that at that time I still believed 
in him. 

With the above words he left us, and Mme. Bonaparte 
told me that he remained up almost the whole of the night, 
debating whether or not he should have Moreau arrested, 
weighing the pros and cons of the measure, without any 
symptom of personal feeling in the matter ; that then, toward 
daybreak, he sent for General Berthier, and after a long in- 
terview with him he determined on sending to Grosbois, 
whither Moreau had retired. 

This event gave rise to a great deal of discussion, and 
opinion was much divided. General Moreau's brother, a 
tribune, spoke with great vehemence at the Tribunate, and 
produced considerable effect. A deputation was sent up by 
the three representative bodies with an address of congratu- 
lation to the First Consul. In Paris, all who represented the 
liberal portion of the population, a section of the bourgeoisie, 
lawyers, and men of letters, were warmly in favor of Moreau. 
It was, of course, plain enough that political opposition formed 
an element in the interest exhibited on his behalf ; his parti- 
sans agreed that they would throng the court at which he 
was to be brought up, and there was even a threatening 
whisper about what should be done if he were condemned. 
Bonaparte's police informed him that there was a plot to 
break into Moreau's prison. This irritated him, and his 
calmness began to give way. Murat, his brother-in-law, who 
was then Governor of Paris, hated Moreau, and took care to 
add to Bonajparte's exasperation by his daily reports to him, 
he and Dubois, the Prefect of Police, combining together to 
pursue him with alarming rumors. Events, unhappily, came 
to the aid of their design. Each day a fresh ramification of 
the conspiracy was discovered, and each day Parisian society 
refused more obstinately than on the preceding to believe 


that there was any conspiracy at all. A war of opinion was 
being waged between Bonaparte and the Parisians. 

On the 29th of February Pichegru's hiding-place was dis- 
covered, and he was arrested, after a gallant struggle with 
the gendarmes. This event somewhat shook the general in- 
credulity, but public interest still centered in Moreau. His 
wife's grief assumed a rather theatrical aspect, and this also 
had its effect. In the mean time Bonaparte, who was igno- 
rant of the formalities of law, found them much more tedi- 
ous than he had expected. At the commencement of the 
affair, the Chief Judge had too readily undertaken to sim- 
plify and shorten the procedure, and now only one charge 
was distinctly made : that Moreau had held secret conferences 
with Pichegru, and had received his confidence, but without 
pledging himself positively to anything. This was not suffi- 
cient to secure a condemnation, which was becoming a neces- 
sity. In short, notwithstanding that great name which is 
mixed up in the affair, Georges Cadoudal has always been 
believed to have been, as at the trial he appeared to be, the 
real leader of the conspiracy. 

It would be impossible to describe the excitement that 
pervaded the palace. Everybody was consulted ; the most 
trifling conversations were repeated. One day Savary took 
M. de Eemusat aside, and said, " You have been a magis- 
trate, you know the laws ; do you think the details of this 
affair that we are in possession of are sufficient for the infor- 
mation of the judges ? " " No man," replied my husband, 
" has ever been condemned merely because he did not reveal 
projects with which he was made acquainted. No doubt 
that is a political wrong with respect to the Government, but 
it is not a crime which ought to involve the penalty of death ; 
and, if that is your sole plea, you will only have furnished 
Moreau with evidence damaging to yourselves." " In that 
case," said Savary, "the Chief Judge has led us into making 
a great blunder. It would have been better to have had a 
military commission." 


From the day of Picliegru's arrest, the gates of Paris 
were shut, while search was made for Georges Cadoudal, who 
eluded pursuit with extraordinary success. Fouche, who 
laid the foundations of his new reputation on this occasion, 
mercilessly ridiculed the unskillfulness of the police, and his 
comments enraged Bonaparte, who was already angry enough ; 
so that, when he had incurred a real danger, and saw that the 
Parisians were disinclined to believe the statement of the 
facts, he began to wish for revenge. "Judge," said he, 
"whether the French can ever be governed by legal and 
moderate institutions ? I have put down a revolutionary but 
useful department of the ministry, and conspiracies are im- 
mediately formed. I have foregone my own personal feel- 
ings ; I have handed over the punishment of a man who in- 
tended to kill me to an authority independent of myself ; 
and, far from giving me any thanks for all this, people laugh 
at my moderation, and assign corrupt motives to my conduct. 
I will teach them to belie my intentions. I will lay hold of 
all my powers again, and prove to them that I alone am 
made to govern, to decide, and to punish." 

Bonaparte grew more and more angry as lie became 
aware, from moment to moment, that something was amiss 
with himself. He had thought to rule public opinion, but 
here was public opinion escaping from his hold. He had 
been ruled himself by it in the outset of his career, I am 
certain, and he had gained no credit by that ; so he resolved 
that never again would he be so mistaken. It will seem 
strange, to those who do not know how utterly the wearing 
of a uniform destroys the habit of thinking, that not the 
slightest uneasiness was felt on this occasion with respect to 
the army. Military men do everything by word of com- 
mand, and they abstain from opinions which are not pre- 
scribed to them. Yery few officers remembered then that 
they had fought and conquered under Moreau, and the 'bour- 
geoisie was much more excited about the affair than any 
other class. 


The Polignacs, M. de Riviere, and some others were 
arrested. Then the public began to think there really was 
some truth in the story of the conspiracy, and that the plot 
was a Eoyalist one. Nevertheless, the Republican party 
still demanded Moreau. The nobility were alarmed and 
kept very quiet ; they condemned the imprudence of the 
Polignacs, who have since acknowledged that they were not 
seconded with so much zeal as they had been led to expect. 
The error into which they fell, and to which the Royalist 
party was always prone, was that they believed in the exist- 
ence of what they desired, and acted upon their illusions. 
This is a mistake common to men who are led by their pas- 
sions or by their vanity. 

I suffered a great deal at this time. At the Tuileries the 
First Consul was moody and silent, his wife was frequently 
in tears, his family were angry ; his sister exasperated him 
by her violent way of talking. In society opinions were 
divided : on the one hand were distrust, suspicion, indignant 
satisfaction ; on the other, regret that the attempt had failed 
and passionate condemnation. All these contentions dis- 
tracted and upset me. I shut myself up with my mother 
and my husband ; we questioned one another about all that 
we heard and everything that we respectively thought. M. 
de Remusat's steady rectitude of mind was grieved by the 
errors which were perpetrated ; and, as his judgment was 
quite uninfluenced by passion, he began to dread the future, 
and imparted to me his sagacious and melancholy prevision 
of a character which he studied closely and silently. His 
apprehensions distressed me ; the doubts which were spring- 
ing up in my own mind rendered me very unhappy. Alas ! 
the moment was drawing near when I was to be far more 
painfully enlightened. 


The Arrest of Georges Cadoudal The Mission of M. de Caulaincourt to Ettenheim 
The Arrest of the Due d'Enghien My Distress and my Urgency with Mme. 
Bonaparte An Evening at Malmaison The Death of the Due d'Enghien 
Eemarkable Words of the First Consul. 

AFTEE the arrests which I have already recorded, there 
appeared in the "Moniteur" certain articles from the 
" Morning Chronicle," in which it was stated that the death 
of Bonaparte and the restoration of Louis XVIII. were im- 
minent. It was added that persons newly arrived from 
London affirmed that speculation upon these eventualities 
was rife on the Stock Exchange, and that Georges Cadoudal, 
Pichegru, and Moreau were named openly there. In the 
same " Moniteur " appeared a letter from an Englishman to 
Bonaparte, whom he addressed as " Monsieur Consul." The 
purport of this letter was to recommend, as specially appli- 
cable to Bonaparte, a pamphlet written in Cromwell's time, 
which tended to prove that persons such as Cromwell and 
himself could not be assassinated, because there was no crime 
in killing a dangerous animal or a tyrant. " To kill is not to 
assassinate in such cases," said the pamphlet ; " the difference 
is great." 

In France, however, addresses from all the towns and 
from all the regiments, and pastorals by all the Bishops, 
complimenting the First Consul and congratulating France 
on the danger which had been escaped, were forwarded to 
Paris ; and these documents were punctually inserted in the 
" Moniteur." 

At length, on the 29th of March, Georges Cadoudal was 


arrested in the Place de POdeon. He was in a cabriolet, 
and, perceiving that he was followed, he urged on his horse. 
A gendarme bravely caught the animal by the head, and was 
shot dead by Cadoudal ; the cabriolet was, however, stopped 
owing to the crowd which instantly collected at the noise of 
the pistol-shot, and Cadoudal was seized. Between sixty 
thousand and eighty thousand francs in notes were found on 
him, and given to the widow of the man whom he had 
killed. The newspapers stated that he acknowledged he had 
come to France for no other purpose than to assassinate 
Bonaparte ; but I remember to have heard at the time that 
the prisoner, whose courage and firmness during the whole 
of the proceedings were unshaken, and who evinced great 
devotion to the house of Bourbon, steadily denied that there 
had ever been any purpose of assassination, while admitting 
that his intentions had been to attack the carriage of the 
First Consul, and to carry him off without harming him. 

At this time the King of England (George III.) was 
taken seriously ill, and our Government reckoned upon his 
death to insure the retirement of Mr. Pitt from the ministry. 

On the 21st of March the following appeared in the 
" Moniteur " : " Prince de Conde has addressed a circular to 
the emigres, with a view to collecting them on the Rhine. 
A prince of the house of Bourbon is now on the frontier for 
that purpose." 

Immediately afterward the secret correspondence that 
had been taken from Mr. Drake, the accredited English 
Minister in Bavaria, was published. These proved that the 
English Government was leaving no means untried of creat- 
ing disturbance in France. M. de Talleyrand was directed 
to send copies of this correspondence to all the members of 
the Corps Diplomatique, and they expressed their indigna- 
tion in letters which were inserted in the " Moniteur." 

Holy Week was approaching. On Passion Sunday, the 
18th of March, my week of attendance on Mme. Bonaparte 
began. I went to the Tuileries in the morning, in time for 


mass, which, was again celebrated with all the former pomp. 
After mass, Mme. Bonaparte received company in the great 
drawing-room, and remained for some time, talking to sev- 
eral persons. When we went down to her private apart- 
ments, she informed me that we were to pass that week at 
Malmaison. " I am very glad," she added ; "Paris frightens 
me just now." Shortly afterward we set out; Bonaparte 
was in his own carriage, Mme. Bonaparte and myself in hers. 
I observed that she was very silent and sad for a part of the 
way, and I let her see that I was uneasy about her. At first 
she seemed reluctant to give me any explanation, but at 
length she said, " I am going to trust you with a great secret. 
This morning Bonaparte told me that he had sent M. de 
Caulaincourt to the frontier to seize the Due d'Enghien. 
He is to be brought back here." "Ah, madame," I ex- 
claimed, " what are they going to do with him ? " "I be- 
lieve," she answered, " he will have him tried." I do not 
think I have ever in my life experienced such a thrill of 
terror as that which her words sent through me. Mme. 
Bonaparte thought I was going to faint, and let down all the 
glasses. " I have done what I could," she went on, " to in- 
duce him to promise me that the prince's life shall not 
be taken, but I am greatly afraid his mind is made up." 
" What, do you really think he will have him put to death ? " 
" I fear so." At these words I burst into tears, and then, so 
soon as I could master my emotion sufficiently to be able to 
speak, I urged upon her the fatal consequences of such a 
deed, the indelible stain of the royal blood, whose shedding 
would satisfy the Jacobin party only, the strong interest 
with which the prince inspired all the other parties, the great 
name of Conde, the general horror, the bitter animosity 
which would be aroused, and many other considerations. I 
urged every side of the question, of which Mme. Bonaparte 
contemplated one only. The idea of a murder was that 
which had struck her most strongly; but I succeeded in 
seriously alarming her, and she promised me that she would 


endeavor by every means in her power to induce Bonaparte 
to relinquish his fatal purpose. 

We both arrived at Malmaison in 'the deepest dejection. 
I took refuge at once in my own room, where I wept bitter- 
ly. I was completely overwhelmed by this terrible discov- 
ery. I liked and admired Bonaparte ; I believed him to be 
called by an invincible power to the highest of human desti- 
nies; I allowed my youthful imagination to run riot con- 
cerning him. All in a moment, the veil which hid the truth 
from my eyes was torn away, and by my own feelings at that 
instant I could only too accurately divine what would be the 
general opinion of such an act. 

There was no one at Malmaison to whom I could speak 
freely. My husband was not in waiting, and had remained 
in Paris. I was obliged to control my agitation, and to 
make my appearance with an unmoved countenance; for 
Mme. Bonaparte had earnestly entreated me not to let Bo- 
naparte divine that she had spoken to me of this matter. 

On going down to the drawing-room at six o'clock, I 
found the First Consul playing a game of chess. He ap- 
peared quite serene and calm ; it made me ill to look at his 
face. So completely had my mind been upset by all that 
had passed through it during the last two hours, that I could 
not regard him with the feelings which his presence usually 
inspired ; it seemed to me that I must see some extraordinary 
alteration in him. A few officers dined with him. Nothing 
whatever of any significance occurred. After dinner he 
withdrew to his cabinet, where he transacted business with 
his police. That night, when I was leaving Mme. Bona- 
parte, she again promised me that she would renew her en- 

I joined her as early as I could on the following morning, 
and found her quite in despair. Bonaparte had repelled her 
at every point. He had told her that women had no concern 
with such matters ; that his policy required this coup $etat / 
that by it he should acquire the right to exercise clemency 


hereafter ; that, in fact, he was forced to choose between this 
decisive act and a long series of conspiracies which he would 
have to punish in detail, as impunity would have encouraged 
the various parties. He should have to go on prosecuting, 
exiling, condemning, without end ; to revoke his measures 
of mercy toward the emigres ; to place himself in the hands 
of the Jacobins. The Royalists had more than once com- 
promised him with the revolutionists. The contemplated 
action would set him free from all parties alike. Besides, 
the Due d'Enghien, after all, had joined in the conspiracy of 
Georges Cadoudal ; he was a cause of disturbance to France, 
and a tool in the hands of England for effecting her purposes 
of vengeance. The prince's military reputation might in the 
future prove a source of trouble in the army ; whereas by 
his death the last link between our soldiers and the Bourbons 
would be broken. In politics, a death which tranquillizes a 
nation is not a crime. Finally, he had given his orders he 
would not withdraw them ; ' there was an end of the matter. 

During this interview, Mme. Bonaparte informed her 
husband that he was about to aggravate the heinousness of 
the deed by the selection of M. de Caulaincourt, whose pa- 
rents had formerly been in the household of the Prince de 
Conde, as the person who was to arrest the Due d'Enghien. 
" I did not know that," replied Bonaparte ; " but what does 
it matter? If Caulaincourt is compromised, there is no 
great harm in that ; indeed, it will only make him serve me 
all the better, and the opposite party will henceforth forgive 
him for being a gentleman." He then added that M. de 
Caulaincourt, who had been informed of only a portion of 
his plan, believed that the Due d'Enghien was to be impris- 
oned in France. 

My heart failed me at these words. M. de Caulaincourt 
was a friend of mine. It seemed to me that he ought to 
have refused to undertake such a task as that which had been 
imposed upon him. 

The day passed drearily. I remember that Mme. Bona- 


parte, who was very fond of trees and flowers, was busy dur- 
ing the morning superintending the transplanting of a cy- 
press to a newly laid-out portion of her garden. She threw 
a few handfuls of earth on the roots of the tree, so that she 
might say that she had planted it with her own hands. " Ah, 
madame," said I to her, as I observed her doing so, "a 
cypress is just the tree to suit such a day as this." I have 
never passed by that cypress since without a thrill of pain. 

My profound emotion distressed Mme. Bonaparte. She 
had great faith in all Bonaparte's views, and, owing to her 
natural levity and fickleness, she excessively disliked painful 
or lasting impressions. Her feelings were quick, but extra- 
ordinarily evanescent. Being convinced that the death of 
the Due d'Enghien was inevitable, she wanted to get rid of 
an unavailing regret ; but I would not allow her to do so. 
I importuned her all day long, without ceasing. She listened 
to me with extreme gentleness and kindness, but in utter 
dejection ; she knew Bonaparte better than I. I wept while 
talking to her ; I implored her not to allow herself to be put 
down, and, as I was not without influence over her, I suc- 
ceeded in inducing her to make a last attempt. 

" Mention me to the First Consul, if necessary," said I. 
" I am of very little importance, but at least he will be able 
to judge of the impression he is about to make by the effect 
upon me, and I am more attached to him than other people 
are. I 3 who would ask nothing better than to find excuses 
for him, can not see even one for what he intends to do." 

We saw very little of Bonaparte during the whole of that 
second day. The Chief Judge, the Prefect of Police, and 
Murat all came to Malmaison, and had prolonged audience 
of the First Consul ; I augured ill from their countenances. 
I remained up a great part of the night ; and when at length 
I fell asleep my dreams were frightful. I fancied that I 
heard constant movements in the chateau, and that a fresh 
attempt was about to be made upon our lives. I was pos- 
sessed with a strong desire to go and throw myself at Bona- 


parte's feet, and implore him to take pity upon his own fame, 
which I then believed to be very pure and bright, and I 
grieved heartily over the tarnishing of it. The hours of that 
night can never be effaced from my memory. 

On the Tuesday morning Mme. Bonaparte said to me, 
" All is useless. The Due d'Enghien arrives this evening. 
He will be taken to Yincennes and tried to-night. Murat 
has undertaken the whole. He is odious in this matter ; it is 
he who is urging Bonaparte on, by telling him that his clem- 
ency will be taken for weakness, that the Jacobins will be 
furious, and one party is now displeased because the former 
fame of Moreau has not been taken into consideration, and 
will ask why a Bourbon should be differently treated. Bona- 
parte has forbidden me to speak to him again on the sub- 
ject. He asked me about you," she added, " and I acknowl- 
edged that I had told you everything. He had perceived 
your distress. Pray try to control yourself." 

At this I lost all self-restraint, and exclaimed, " Let him 
think what he likes of me. It matters very little to me, 
madame, I assure you ; and if he asks me why I am weeping, 
I will tell him that I weep for him." And, in fact, I again 
burst into tears. 

Mme. Bonaparte was thrown into utter consternation by 
the state I was in she was almost a stranger to any strong 
mental emotion ; and when she tried to calm me by reassur- 
ing words I could only say to her, " Ah, madame, you do not 
understand me!" After this event, she said, Bonaparte 
would go on just as he had done before. Alas ! it was not 
the future which was troubling me. I did not doubt his 
power over himself and others. The anguish that filled my 
whole being was interior and personal. 

Dinner hour came, and she had to go down with a com- 
posed face. Mine was quite beyond my control. Again Bo- 
naparte was playing chess : he had taken a fancy to that game. 
Immediately on perceiving me he called me to him, saying 
that he wanted to consult me. I was not able to speak. He 


addressed me in a tone of kindness and interest, which in- 
creased my confusion and distress. When dinner was served, 
he placed me near himself, and asked me a number of ques- 
tions about the affairs of my family. He seemed bent on 
bewildering me, and hindering me from thinking. Little 
Napoleon (the son of Louis and Hortense) had been brought 
down from Paris ; and his uncle placed the child in the mid- 
dle of the table, and seemed much amused when he pulled 
the dishes about, and upset everything within his reach. 

After dinner he sat on the floor, playing with the boy, 
and apparently in very high spirits, but, it seemed to me, as- 
sumed. Mme. Bonaparte, who was afraid that he would 
have been angry at what she had told him about me, looked 
from him to me, smiling sweetly, as if she would have said, 
"You see, he is not so bad after all ; we may make our 
minds easy." 

I hardly knew where I was. I felt as though I were 
dreaming a bad dream ; no doubt I looked bewildered. Sud- 
denly, fixing a piercing gaze on me, Bonaparte said, " Why 
have you no rouge on ? You are too pale." I answered 
that I had forgotten to put on any. " What ! " said he, " a 
woman forget to put on her rouge?" And then, with a 
loud laugh, he turned to his wife and added, " That would 
never happen to you, Josephine." I was greatly disconcert- 
ed, and he completed my discomfiture by remarking, " Two 
things are very becoming to women rouge and tears." 

When General Bonaparte was in high spirits, he was 
equally devoid of taste and moderation, and on such occasions 
his manners smacked of the barrack-room. He went on for 
some time jesting with his wife with more freedom than 
delicacy, and then challenged me to a game of chess. He 
did not play well, and never would observe the correct 
" moves." I allowed him to do as he liked ; every one in 
the room kept silence. Presently he began to mutter some 
lines of poetry, and then repeated a little louder, " Soyons ami, 

Cinna " and Guzman's lines in Act v. Scene vii. of " Alzire " : 


" Des dieux que nous servons connais la difference : 
Les tiens font coramande le meurtre et la vengeance : 
Et le mien, quand ton bras vient de m'assassiner, 
M'ordonne de te plaindre et de te pardonner." 

As he half whispered the line, 

" Et le mien, quand ton bras vient de m'assassiner," 

I could not refrain from raising my eyes and looking at him. 
He smiled, and went on repeating the verses. In truth, at 
that moment I did believe that he had deceived his wife and 
everybody else, and was planning a grand scene of magnani- 
mous pardon. I caught eagerly at this idea, and it restored 
me to composure. My imagination was very juvenile in 
those days, and I longed so much to be able to hope ! 

" You like poetry ? " Bonaparte asked me. How I longed 
to answer, " Especially when the lines are applicable " ; but 
I did not dare to utter the words. I may as well mention in 
this place that the very day after I had set down the above 
reminiscence, a friend lent me a book entitled " Memoires 
Secretes sur la Yie de Lucien Bonaparte." This work, which 
is probably written by a secretary of Lucien's, is inaccurate 
in several instances. Some notes added at the end are said 
to be written by a person worthy of belief. I found among 
them the- following, which struck me as curious : " Lucien 
was informed of the death of the Due d'Enghien by General 
Hullin, a relative of Mme. Jouberthon, who came to her 
house some hours after that event, looking the image of grief 
and consternation. The Military Council had been assured 
that the First Consul only purposed to assert his authority, 
and fully intended to pardon the prince, and certain lines 
from * Alzire,' commencing 

4 Des dieux que nous servons connais la difference,' 

had been quoted to them." 

But to resume. We went on with our game, and his 
gayety gave me more and more confidence. We were still 


playing when the sound of carriage-wheels was heard, and 
presently General Hullin was announced. Bonaparte pushed 
away the chess-table roughly, rose, and went into the adjoin- 
ing gallery. There he remained all the rest of the evening, 
with Murat, Hullin, and Savary. We saw no more of him, 
and yet I went to my room feeling more easy. I could not 
believe but that Bonaparte must be moved by the fact of 
having such a victim in his hands. I hoped the prince would 
ask to see him ; and in fact he did so, adding, " If the First 
Consul would consent to see me, he would do me justice, for 
he would know that I have done my duty." My idea was 
that Bonaparte would go to Yincennes, and publicly grant 
the prince pardon in person. If he were not going to act 
thus, why should he have quoted those lines from " Alzire " ? 
That night, that terrible night, passed. Early in the 
morning I went down to the drawing-room, and there I 
found Savary. He was deadly pale, and I must do him the 
justice to say that his face betrayed great agitation. He 
spoke to me with trembling lips, but his words were quite 
insignificant. I did not question him; for persons of his 
kind will always say what they want to say without being 
asked, although they never give answers. 

Mme. Bonaparte came in, looked at me very sadly, and, 
as she took her seat, said to Savary, " Well so it is done ? " 
" Yes, madame," he answered. " He died this morning, and, 
I am bound to acknowledge, with great courage." I was 
struck dumb with horror. 

Mme. Bonaparte asked for details. They have all been 
made known since. The prince was taken to one of the 
trenches of the chateau. Being offered a handkerchief to 
bind his eyes with, he rejected it with dignity, and, address- 
ing the gendarmes, said, " You are Frenchmen : at least you 
will do me the service not to miss your aim." He placed in 
Savary's hands a ring, a lock of hair, and a letter for Mme. 
de Rohan ; and all these Savary showed to Mme. Bonaparte. 
The letter was open ; it was brief and tender. I do not 


know whether these last wishes of the unfortunate prince 
were carried out. 

"After his death," said Savary, "the gendarmes were 
told that they might take his clothes, his watch, and the 
money he had in his pocket ; bat not one of them would 
touch anything. People may say what they like, but one 
can not see a man like that die as coolly as one can see others. 
I feel it hard to get over it." 

Presently Eugene de Beauharnais made his appearance. 
He was too young to have recollections of the past, and in 
his eyes the Due d'Enghien was simply a conspirator against 
the life of his master. Then came certain generals, whose 
names I will not set down here ; and they approved of the 
deed so loudly that Mme. Bonaparte thought it necessary to 
apologize for her own dejection, by repeating over and over 
again the unmeaning sentence, " I am a woman, you know, 
and I confess I could cry." 

In the course of the morning a number of visitors came 
to the Tuileries. Among them were the Consuls, the Min- 
isters, and Louis Bonaparte and his wife. Louis preserved a 
sullen silence, which seemed to imply disapprobation. Mme. 
Louis was so frightened that she did not dare to feel, and 
seemed to be asking what she ought to think. "Women, even 
more than men, were subjugated by the magic of that sacra- 
mental phrase of Bonaparte's "My policy." "With those 
words he crushed one's thoughts, feelings, and even impres- 
sions ; and, when he uttered them, no one in the palace, 
especially no woman, would have dared to ask him what he 

My husband also came during the morning, and his pre- 
sence relieved me from the terrible oppression from which I 
was suffering. He, like myself, was grieved and downcast. 
How grateful I was to him for not lecturing me upon the 
absolute necessity of our appearing perfectly composed under 
the circumstances ! We sympathized in every feeling. He 
told me that the general sentiment in Paris was one of dis- 


gust, and that the heads of the Jacobin party said, " He be- 
longs to us now." He added the following words, which I 
have frequently recalled to mind since: "The Consul has 
taken a line which will force him into laying aside the use- 
ful, in order to efface this recollection, and into dazzling us 
by the extraordinary and the unexpected." He also said to 
Mme. Bonaparte : " There is one important piece of advice 
which you ought to give the First Consul. It is that he 
should not lose a moment in restoring public confidence. 
Opinion is apt to be precipitate in Paris. He ought at least 
to prove to the people that the event which has just occurred 
is not due to the development of a cruel disposition, but to 
reasons whose force I am not called upon to determine, and 
which ought to make him very circumspect." 

Mme. Bonaparte fully appreciated the advice of M. de 
Kemusat, and immediately repeated his words to her husband. 
He seemed well disposed to listen to her, and answered 
briefly, " That is quite true." On rejoining Mme. Bonaparte 
before dinner, I found her in the gallery, with her daughter 
and M. de Caulaincourt, who had just arrived. He had 
superintended the arrest of the prince, but had not accom- 
panied him to Paris. I recoiled at the sight of him. " And 
you, too," said he, addressing me, so that all could hear him, 
" you are going to detest me ! And yet I am only unfor- 
tunate ; but that I am in no small degree, for the Consul has 
disgraced me by this act. Such is the reward of my devotion 
to him. I have been shamefully deceived, and I am now 
ruined." He shed tears while speaking, and I could not but 
pity him. 

Mme. Bonaparte assured me afterward that he had spoken 
in the same way to the First Consul, and I was myself a 
witness to his maintenance of a severe and angry bearing 
toward Bonaparte, who made many advances to him, but for 
a long time in vain. The First Consul laid out his plans be- 
fore him, but found him cold and uninterested ; then he made 
him brilliant offers, by way of amends, which were at first 


rejected. Perhaps they ought to have been always re- 

In the mean time public opinion declared itself strongly 
against M. de Caulaincourt. Certain persons condemned 
the aide-de-camp mercilessly, while they made excuses for 
the master; and such injustice exasperated M. de Caulain- 
court, who might have bowed his head before frank and 
candid censure, fairly distributed between them. When, 
however, he saw that every sort of affront was to be heaped 
on him, in order that the real culprit might go quite free, he 
conceived an utter disdain for these people, and consented to 
force them into silence by placing himself in a position of 
such authority as would enable him to overrule them. He 
was urged to take this course by Bonaparte, and also by his 
own ambition. " Do not act like a fool," said the former. 
" If you retreat before the blows which are aimed at you, 
you will be done for ; no one will give you any thanks or 
credit for your tardy opposition to my wishes, and you will 
be all the more heavily censured because you are not formid- 
able." By dint of similar reasoning frequently reiterated, 
and by the employment of every sort of device for consoling 
and coaxing M. de Caulaincourt, Bonaparte succeeded in 
appeasing his resentment, and by degrees he raised him to 
posts of great dignity about his own person. The weakness 
which induced M. de Caulaincourt to pardon the indelible 
injury which the First Consul had done him may be more 
or less blamed ; but, at least, it should be admitted that he 
was never a blind or servile courtier, and that he remained to 
the last among the small number of Bonaparte's servants who 
never neglected an opportunity of telling him the truth.* 

* M. de Caulaincourt retained the same feelings all his life, and very severely 
condemned the policy and the personal character of Bonaparte, whose fatal pro- 
jects he frequently endeavored to avert. M. Monnier, the son of the celebrated 
member of the Assemblies of the Revolution, with whom my father was very in- 
timate in his youth, told him that in the campaign of 1813 M. de Caulaincourt, 
then Due de Vienne, while accompanying the Emperor with several members of 
his staff and of his household, saw a shell strike the ground close by Napoleon. 


Before dinner, both Mme. Bonaparte and her daughter 
entreated me to command my countenance as much as pos- 
sible. The former told me that her husband had asked her 
that morning what effect the deplorable news had produced 
upon me ; and on her replying that I had wept, he said, 
" That is a matter of course ; she merely did what was to be 
expected of her as a woman. You don't understand any- 
thing about our business ; but it will all subside and every- 
body will see that I have not made a blunder." 

At length dinner was announced. In addition to the 
household officers on duty for that week, the dinner-party 
included M. and Mme. Louis Bonaparte, Eugene Beauharnais, 
M. de Caulaincourt, and General Hullin, who was then Com- 
mandant of Paris. The sight of this man affected me pain- 
fully. His expression of face, perfectly unmoved, was just 
the same on that day as it had been on the preceding.* I 
quite believe that he did not think he had done an ill deed, 
or that he had performed an act of zeal in presiding over the 
military commission which condemned the prince. Bonaparte 
rewarded the fatal service which he had rendered him with 
money and promotion, but he said more than once, when he 
noted Hullin's presence, " The sight of him annoys me ; he 
reminds me of things which I do not like." 

Bonaparte did not come into the drawing-room at all ; he 
went from his cabinet to the dinner-table. He affected no 
high spirits that day ; on the contrary, he remained during 
the whole time of dinner in a profound reverie. We were 
all very silent. Just as we were about to rise from table, the 
First Consul said, in a harsh, abrupt tone, as if in reply to 

He rode up, putting his horse between the Emperor and the missile, and covered 
him as much as possible from the fragments of the shell, which happily explod- 
ed without hitting anybody. In the evening. M. Monnier, who was supping at 
headquarters, spoke to him of this deed of bravery, by which he had risked his 
own life to save that of his master. " That is true," replied the Due de Vienne, 
" and yet I could not believe that there is a God in heaven if that man were to 
die on the throne." 

* I have since been assured that he was deeply grieved. 


his own thoughts, " At least they will see what we are capa- 
ble of, and henceforth, I hope, they will leave us alone." 
He then passed on into the drawing-room, where he talked 
for a long time in a low voice with his wife, looking at me 
now and then, but without any anger in his glance. I sat 
apart from all, downcast and ill, without either the power or 
the wish to utter a word. 

Presently Joseph Bonaparte and M. and Mme. Bacciochi * 
arrived, accompanied by M. de Fontanes.f Lucien was on 
bad terms with his brother, who had objected to his marriage 
with Mme. Jouberthon, and came no more to the palace ; 
indeed, he was then making ready to leave France. During 
the evening, Murat, Dubois, who was Prefect of Police, the 
members of the Council of the State, and others arrived, 
all with composed faces. The conversation was at first tri- 
fling and awkward : the women sitting silent, the men stand- 
ing in a semicircle, Bonaparte walking about from one side 
of the room to the other. Presently he began a discussion, 
half literary, half historical, with !M. de Fontanes. The men- 
tion of certain names which belong to history gave him an 
opportunity of bringing out his opinion of some of our 
kings and great military commanders. I remarked on this 
evening that he dwelt on dethronements of every kind, both 
actual and such as are effected by a change of mind. He lauded 
Charlemagne, but maintained that France had always been 
en decadence under the Yalois. He depreciated the great- 
ness of Henry IY. " He was wanting," said he, " in gravi- 
ty. Good nature is an affectation which a sovereign ought 
to avoid. What does he want ? Is it to remind those who 
surround him that he is a man like any other ? What non- 
sense ! So soon as a man is a king he is apart from all, and 
I have always held that the instinct of true policy was in 

* M. Bacciochi was then a colonel of dragoons, and had nothing whatever to 
do with politics. He had a passion for the violin, and played all day. 

f M. de Fontanes was appointed President of the Corps Legislatif at this 
time, and afterward perpetual President. 


Alexander's idea of making himself out to be the descendant 
of a god." He added that Louis XIY. knew the French bet- 
ter than Henry IY. ; but he hastened to add that Louis had 
allowed " priests and an old woman " to get the better of 
him, and he made some coarse remarks on that point. Then 
he held forth on Louis XIY.'s generals, and on military 
science in general. 

"Military science," said Bonaparte, "consists in calcu- 
lating all the chances accurately in the first place, and then 
in giving accident exactly, almost mathematically, its place 
in one's calculations. It is upon this point that one must 
not deceive one's self, and that a decimal more or less may 
change all. Now, this apportioning of accident and science 
can not get into any head except that of a genius, for genius 
must exist wherever there is a creation ; and assuredly the 
grandest improvisation of the human mind is the gift of an 
existence to that which has it not. Accident, hazard, chance, 
whatever you choose to call it, a mystery to ordinary minds, 
becomes a reality to superior men. Turenne did not think 
about it, and so he had nothing but method. I think," he 
added with a smile, " I should have beaten him. Conde had 
a better notion of it than Turenne, but then he gave himself 
up to it with impetuosity. Prince Eugene is one of those 
who understood it best. Henry IY. always put bravery in 
the place of everything ; he only fought actions he would 
not have come well out of a pitched battle. Catinat has 
been cried up chiefly from the democratic point of view ; I 
have, for my own part, carried off a victory on the spot where 
he was beaten. The philosophers have worked up his repu- 
tation after their own fancy, and that was all the easier to 
do, because one may say anything one likes about ordinary 
people who have been lifted into eminence by circumstances 
not of their own creating. A man, to be really great, no 
matter in what order of greatness, must have actually im- 
provised a portion of his own glory must have shown him- 
self superior to the event which he has brought about. For 


instance, Csesar acted now and then with weakness, which 
makes me suspect the praises that are lavished on him in 

" I am rather doubtful of your friends the historians, M. 
de Fontanes. Even your Tacitus himself explains nothing ; 
he arrives at certain results without indicating the routes that 
have been followed. He is, I think, able as a writer, but 
hardly so as a statesman. He depicts Nero as an execrable 
tyrant, and then he tells us, almost in the same page with a 
description of the pleasure he felt in burning down Rome, 
that the people loved him. All that is not plain and clear. 
Believe me, we are sometimes the dupes of our beliefs of 
writers who have fabricated history for us in accordance 
with the natural bent of their own minds. But do you know 
whose history I should like to read, if it were well written ? 
That of King Frederick II. of Prussia. I hold him to be 
one of those who has best understood his business in every 
sort of way. These ladies " here he turned to us " will 
not be of my opinion ; they will say that he was harsh and 
selfish. But, after all, is a great statesman made for feeling ? 
Is he not a completely eccentric personage, who stands al- 
ways alone, on his own side, with the world on the other ? 
The glass through which he looks is that of his policy ; his 
sole concern ought to be that it should neither magnify nor 
diminish. And, while he observes objects with attention, he 
must also be careful to hold the reins equally ; for the chariot 
which he drives is often drawn by ill-matched horses. How, 
then, is he to occupy himself with those fine distinctions of 
feelings which are important to the generality of mankind ? 
Can he consider the affections, the ties of kinship, the puerile 
arrangements of society? In such a position as his, how 
many actions are regarded separately, and condemned, al- 
though they are to contribute as a whole to that great work 
which the public does not discern ? One day, those deeds 
will terminate the creation of the Colossus which will be the 
wonder of posterity. And you, mistaken as you are you 


will withhold your praises, because you are afraid lest the 
movement of that great machine should crush you, as Gulli- 
ver crushed the Lilliputians when he moved his legs. Be 
advised ; go on in advance of the time, enlarge your imagina- 
tion, look out afar, and you will see that those great person- 
ages whom you think violent and cruel are only politic. 
They know themselves better, they judge themselves more 
correctly than you do ; and, when they are really able men, 
they know how to master their passions, for they even calcu- 
late the effects of them." 

From this, which was a kind of manifesto, the opinions 
of Bonaparte may be gathered, and also a notion of the rapid 
succession in which his ideas followed each other when he 
allowed himself to talk. It sometimes happened that his 
discourse would be less consecutive, for he put up well 
enough with interruptions ; but on the day in question every 
one seemed to be benumbed in his presence ; no one ven- 
tured to take up certain applications of his words, which it 
was evident he intended. He had never ceased walking to 
and fro while he was talking, and this for more than an hour. 
Many other things which he said have escaped my memory. 
At length, abruptly breaking off the chain of his ideas, he 
directed M. de Fontanes to read aloud certain extracts from 
Drake's correspondence, which I have already mentioned, all 
relating to the conspiracy. When the reading of the extracts 
was concluded, " There are proofs here," said he, " that can 
not be disputed. These people wanted to throw France into 
confusion, and to destroy the Revolution by destroying me ; 
it was my duty both to defend and to avenge the Revolution. 
I have proved of what it is capable. The Due d'Enghien 
was a conspirator like any other, and he had to be treated as 
such. The whole affair, moreover, was arranged without 
caution or accurate knowledge of the ground, on the faith of 
some obscure correspondence ; a few credulous old women 
wrote letters, and were believed. The Bourbons will never 
see anything except through the CEU-de-Bceuf, and they are 


fated to be perpetually deluded. The Polignacs made sure 
that every house in Paris would he open to them ; and, when 
they arrived here, not a single noble would receive them. 
If all these fools were to kill me, they would not get their 
own way ; they would only put angry Jacobins in my place. 
The day of etiquette is over, but the Bourbons can not give 
it up. If ever you see them return, mark my words that it 
will be the first subject that will occupy their minds. Ah ! 
it would have been another story could they have been seen, 
like Henry IY., covered with dust and blood on a battle- 
field. A kingdom is not got back by dating a letter from 
London, and signing it * Louis.' Nevertheless, such a letter 
compromises imprudent people, and I am obliged to punish 
them, although I feel a sort of pity for them. I have shed 
blood ; it was necessary to do so. I may have to shed more, 
but not out of anger simply because blood-letting is one of 
the remedies in political medicine. I am the man of the 
State ; I am the French Kevolution. I say it, and I will up- 
hold it." 

After this last declaration, Bonaparte dismissed us all. 
We dispersed without daring to interchange our ideas, and 
thus ended this fatal day.* 

* The murder of the Due d'Enghien is an inexhaustible subject of contro- 
versy between the opponents of the Empire and the supporters of Napoleon. 
In the most recent and important works of historians and memoir-writers, there 
is nothing to contradict the above narrative, which possesses, moreover, every 
mark of sincerity and truthfulness. The First Consul originated and ordered 
the crime ; Savary and the military commission executed it ; M. de Caulaincourt 
was the unconscious medium. A full account of the trial may be found in a 
work entitled " Le Due d'Enghien d'apres les Documents Historiques," par L. 
Constant, 8vo, Paris, 1869. The following extract from Chateaubriand's "Me- 
moires d'Outre-tombe " will, I think, be of interest at this point, although the 
work does not rank among the best productions of its author, and can not be 
absolutely relied on. Nevertheless, M. de Chateaubriand's resignation of his 
post on the day following the crime is justly held honorable to him. " A coun- 
cil was held on the proposed arrest of the Due d'Enghien. Cambaceres, in his 
unpublished Memoirs, asserts and I believe him that he opposed the arrest ; 
but, although he records his own words, he does not say what replies they eli- 
cited. The * M6morial de Ste. H61ene ' denies, however, that Bonaparte had to 


refuse any entreaties for clemency. The imaginary scene in which Josephine 
begs on her knees for the life of the Due d'Enghien, and, clinging to the coat of 
Napoleon, is dragged along the ground by her inexorable husband, is one of 
those melodramatic inventions with which the fiction-writers of the present day 
compose their veracious histories. On the evening of March 19th Josephine 
was in ignorance that the Due d'Enghien was to be tried ; she only knew that 
he had been arrested. She had promised Mme. de Re'musat to interest herself 
in his fate. ... On March 21st, Bonaparte said to his wife, * The Due d'En- 
ghien has been shot.' The Memoirs of Mme. de Remusat, with whom I was 
acquainted, were full of exceedingly curious details of the private life of the 
Imperial Court. Their author burned them during the Hundred Days, but after- 
ward rewrote them. They are now but recollections of former recollections ; 
the colors are faded ; but Bonaparte is always clearly depicted and impartially 
judged."-?. B. 



The Impression produced in Paris "by the Death of the Due d'Enghien The First 
Consul's Efforts to dispel itn-Performance at the Opera House Death of Piche- 
gru Breach between Bonaparte and his Brother Lucien Project of adopting 
the young Napoleon Foundation of the Empire. 

THE First Consul spared no pains to allay the excitement 
which was caused by this event. He perceived that his con- 
duct had raised the question of his real character, and he set 
himself to prove, both by his speeches in the Council of 
State, and also to all of us, that political considerations only, 
and not passion of any kind, had led to the death of the Due 
d'Enghien. As I said before, he made no attempt to check 
the genuine indignation evinced by M. de Caulaincourt, and 
toward me he displayed indulgence which once more unset- 
tled my opinions. How strong a power of persuasion do 
sovereigns, whatever their character, exercise over us ! Our 
feelings, and, to be frank, our vanity also, run to meet their 
slightest advances half-way. I grieved, but I felt myself be- 
ing slowly won over by the adroitness of Bonaparte ; and I 

"Pint Dieu ce fat le dernier de ses crimes ! " 

Meanwhile we returned to Paris, and then my feelings 
were again painfully excited by the state of opinion there. 
I could make no reply to what was said. I could only try to 
persuade those who believed that this fatal act was but the 
beginning of a blood-stained reign, that they were mistaken ; 
and although it would be difficult, in point of fact, to ex- 


aggerate the impression that such a crime must produce, still 
party spirit ran so high that, although my own feelings re- 
volted against it, I sometimes found myself endeavoring to 
offer some sort of excuse for it uselessly enough, since I was 
addressing myself to people whose convictions were unalter- 

I had a warm discussion with Mme. de , a cousin of 

Mme. Bonaparte's. She was one of those persons who did 
not attend the evening receptions at the Tuileries, but who, 
having divided the palace into two separate regions, con- 
sidered that they might appear in Mme. Bonaparte's apart- 
ment on the ground floor in the morning, without departing 
from their principles or sullying their reminiscences by re- 
cognition of the actual government on the first floor. 

She was a clever, animated woman, with rather high- 
flown notions. Mme. Bonaparte was frightened by her 
vehement indignation ; and, finding me with her one day, 
she attacked me with equal vigor, and compassionated both 
of us for being, as she said, bound in chains to a tyrant. She 
went so far that I tried to make her understand the distress 
she was inflicting on her cousin. Then she turned violently 
upon me, and accused me of not sufficiently appreciating the 
horror of the event that had just taken place. " As for me," 
she said, " every sense and every feeling is so outraged that, 
if your Consul were to come into this room, you would see 
me fly on the instant, as one flies from a venomous beast." 
" Ah, madame," I answered (little thinking that my words 
would prove prophetic), " refrain from expressions which at 
some future day may prove embarrassing to you. Weep 
with us, but reflect that the recollection of words uttered in 
a moment of excitement often complicates one's subsequent 
actions. To-day you are angry with me for my apparent 
moderation ; yet, perhaps, my feelings will las,t longer than 

yours." And, in fact, a few months later, Mme. de 

became lady-in-waiting to her cousin, the newly made Em- 


Hume says somewhere that Cromwell, having established 
a sort of phantom of royalty, very soon found himself sur- 
rounded by that particular class of nobles who conceive them- 
selves called on to live in palaces so soon as their doors are 
reopened. The First Consul, on assuming the insignia of 
the power he already wielded, offered a salve to the con- 
science of the old nobility which vanity always readily ap- 
plies ; for who can resist the temptation of recovering the 
rank he feels himself made to adorn ? I am about to draw 
a very homely comparison, but I believe a true one. In the 
nature of the grand seigneur there is something of the char- 
acter of the cat, which remains faithful to the same house, 
no matter who may become the proprietor of it. 

Bonaparte, stained with the blood of the Due d'Enghien, 
but having become an Emperor, succeeded in obtaining from 
the French nobles that for which he would have vainly 
sought so long as he was only First Consul ; and when, in 
later days, he maintained to one of his ministers that this 
murder was indeed a crime, but not a blunder " for," he 
added, "the consequences that I foresaw have all exactly 
happened " he was, in that sense, right. 

And yet, if we look at things from a higher standpoint, 
the consequences of this act of his reached further than he 
thought for. He succeeded, doubtless, in moderating certain 
opinions, for there are numbers of people who give up feel- 
ing when there is nothing to hope ; but, as M. de Remusat 
said, the odium which the crime cast upon him obliged him 
to divert our thoughts from it by a succession of extraordi- 
nary feats, which would impose silence respecting the past. 
Moreover, he bound himself, as it were, to be always success- 
ful, for by success alone could he be justified. If we con- 
template the tortuous and difficult path he was henceforth 
obliged to tread, we shall conclude that a noble and pure 
policy, based upon the prosperity of the human race and the 
free exercise of its rights, would have been then, as it is 
always, the best on which a sovereign can act. 


By the death of the Due d'Enghien, Bonaparte succeeded 
in compromising, first ourselves, then the French nobility, 
finally the whole nation and all Europe. Our fate was 
united with his, it is true this was a great point for him ; 
but, when he dishonored us, he lost the right to that devotion 
and adherence which he claimed in vain when the hour of 
his ill fortune came. How could he reckon on a link forged, 
it must be owned, at the cost of the noblest feelings of the 
soul? Alas! I judge by my own case. From that time 
forward I began to blush in secret at the chain I wore; 
and this hidden feeling, which I stifled at different times 
with more or less success, afterward became the general sen- 

On his return to Paris, the First Consul was struck by 
the effect he had produced. He perceived that feelings go 
more slowly than opinions, and that men's countenances 
wore a new expression in his presence. Weary of a remem- 
brance that he would have liked to render a bygone from the 
very first, he thought the best plan was to let the people 
wear out their emotions as quickly as possible ; and so he 
determined to appear in public, although certain persons ad- 
vised him to defer doing so for a while. " But we must, at 
any cost," he answered, " throw that event into the past ; and 
it will remain new so long as anything fresh is to be felt 
about it. If we change nothing in our habits, the public 
will soon regard the occurrence as an old affair." It was 
therefore arranged that he should go to the opera. 

On that evening I was in attendance on Mme. Bonaparte ; 
her carriage followed her husband's. His usual custom was 
not to wait for her, but to pass rapidly up the staircase 
and show himself in his box ; on this occasion, however, he 
waited in the little ante-room adjoining it until Mme. Bona- 
parte arrived. She was trembling very much, and he was 
excessively pale ; he looked round at us all, as if mutely ask- 
ing us how we thought he would be received ; and then he 

went forward at last like a man marching up to a battery. 


He was greeted in the usual way, either because the sight of 
him produced its customary effect for the multitude do not 
change their habits in a moment or because the police had 
taken measures of precaution beforehand. I had greatly 
feared he would 'not be applauded, and yet, when I saw that 
he was, my heart sank within me. 

He remained only a few days in Paris ; thence he removed 
to Saint Cloud, and I believe from that time forth he began 
to carry his projects of sovereignty into execution. He felt 
the necessity of imposing an authority which could no longer 
be contested upon Europe, and, at the very moment when he 
had just broken with all parties by deeds which he himself 
regarded as merely acts of vigor, he thought it well to reveal 
the goal toward which he had been advancing with more or 
less precaution. He began by obtaining from the Corps 
Legislatif , now assembled, a levy of sixty thousand men ; not 
that he wanted them for the war with England, which could 
only be carried on by sea, but because he required to assume 
an imposing attitude when about to astonish Europe by an 
altogether novel incident. The Code of Civil Laws had just 
been completed ; this was an important work, and was said 
to be worthy of general approval. The halls wherein the 
three great bodies of the State assembled rang on this occa- 
sion with the praises of Bonaparte. M. Marcorelle, a deputy 
of the Corps Legislatif, moved, amid loud acclamations, on 
the 24th of March, three days after the death of the Due 
d'Enghien, that a bust of the First Consul should be placed 
in the Chamber of Deputies. " Let us," he said, " by a strik- 
ing mark of our affection, proclaim to Europe that he who 
has been threatened by the daggers of vile assassins is the 
object of our attachment and admiration." 

A few days later, Fourcroy, a member of the Council of 
State, closed the session in the name of the Government. He 
alluded to the princes of the house of Bourbon as " members 
of that unnatural family which would have drowned France 
in her own blood, so that they might reign over her," and 


added that they must be threatened with death if they ven- 
tured to pollute French territory by their presence. 

Meanwhile, preparations for the great trial were going 
on ; every day more Chouans were arrested, either in Brit- 
tany or in Paris, who were concerned in this conspiracy, 
and Georges Cadoudal, Pichegru, and Moreau had already 
been examined several times. The two first, it was said, 
answered with firmness ; Moreau appeared to be much de- 
jected. No clear information was obtained by these inter- 

One morning General Pichegru was found strangled in 
his prison. This event made a great sensation. It was un- 
hesitatingly attributed to the need of getting rid of a formid- 
able enemy. Pichegru's determination of character would, it 
was said, have led him, when the proceeding became public, 
to utter strong language, which would have had an undesir- 
able effect. He would, perhaps, have created a party in his 
favor; he would have cleared Moreau, whose guilt it was 
already so difficult to prove. On the other hand, the parti- 
sans of Bonaparte said : " Nobody can doubt that Pichegru 
came to Paris in order to get up an insurrection. He him- 
self does not deny it. His own avowals would have con- 
vinced the most incredulous ; Ms absence will prevent that 
full light, which is so desirable, from being thrown on the 

Many years afterward I asked M. de Talleyrand one day 
what he thought of the death of Pichegru. " I think," said 
he, "that it happened very suddenly and in the nick of 
time ! " But just then M. de Talleyrand had fallen out with 
Bonaparte, and took every opportunity of bringing accusa- 
tions against him ; I therefore by no means commit myself 
to any statement respecting this event. The subject was not 
spoken of at Saint Cloud, and every one refrained from the 
slightest reflection on it. 

About this time Lucien Bonaparte left France, having 
quarreled irrevocably with his brother. His marriage with 


Mme. Jouberthon, which Bonaparte had been unable to pre- 
vent, was the cause of the rupture. The Consul, full of his 
great projects, made a last attempt to induce him to renounce 
this marriage ; but it was in vain that Lucien was apprised 
of the approaching grandeur of his family, in vain that a 
marriage with the Queen of Etruria* was proposed to 
him. "Love was the strongest," and he refused every- 
thing. A violent scene ensued, and Lucien was exiled from 

On this occasion I happened to see the First Consul give 
way to one of those rare bursts of emotion of which I have 
before spoken. It was at Saint Cloud, rather late one even- 
ing. Mme. Bonaparte was anxiously waiting the result of 
this final conference between the two brothers ; M. de R6- 
musat and I were the only persons with her. She did not 
care for Lucien, but she deprecated any family scandal. It 
was near midnight when Bonaparte came into the room ; he 
was deeply dejected, and, throwing himself into an arm-chair, 
he exclaimed, in a troubled voice, " It is all over ! I have 
broken with Lucien, and ordered him from my presence." 
Mme. Bonaparte began to expostulate. "You are a good 
woman," he said, " to plead for him." Then he rose from 
his chair, took his wife in his arms, and laid her head softly 
on his shoulder, and with his hand still resting on the beau- 
tiful head which formed a contrast to the sad, set counte- 
nance so near it, he told us that Lucien had resisted all his 
entreaties, and that he had resorted equally in vain to both 
threats and persuasion. " It is hard, though," he added, " to 
find in one's own family such stubborn opposition to inter- 
ests of such magnitude. Must I, then, isolate myself from 
every one? Must I rely on myself alone? Well! I will 

* After the treaty of LunSville, in 1801, Tuscany had been erected into the 
kingdom of Etruria and given to the son of the Duke of Parma. The King 
having died in 1803, his widow, Marie Louise, a daughter of Charles IV., King 
of Spain, succeeded him, and reigned until 1807, at which period the little 
kingdom was incorporated with the Empire, to be again dismembered in 1809 
in favor of Mme. Bacciochi, who took the title of Grand Duchess of Tuscany. 


suffice to myself, and you, Josephine you will be my com- 
fort always." 

I retain a pleasurable recollection of this little scene. 
Tears were in Bonaparte's eyes as he spoke. I felt inclined 
to thank him when he betrayed feelings like those of other 
men. Shortly after this, his brother Louis crossed his wishes 
in another way, and this incident had probably a great influ- 
ence on the fate of Mme. Bonaparte. 

The Consul, being quite resolved to raise himself to the 
throne of France and to found a dynasty, had occasionally 
glanced at the question of a divorce already ; but, either be- 
cause of his attachment to his wife being still too strong, or 
because his existing relations with Europe did not permit him 
to hope for an alliance which would strengthen his political 
position, he seemed just then disinclined to break with Jo- 
sephine, and disposed to adopt the young Louis Napoleon, 
who was his own nephew and also Josephine's grandson. 

He no sooner allowed this project to be discerned than 
his family rebelled. Joseph Bonaparte ventured to repre- 
sent to him that he had done nothing to forfeit the right to 
the crown which, as eldest brother, he would acquire, and 
he defended that right as if it had really existed of old. 

Bonaparte, who was always irritated by opposition, grew 
very angry, and only the more determined. He confided his 
intentions to his wife, who was overjoyed, and spoke to me 
as though the realization of this project would bring her own 
anxieties to an end. Mme. Louis assented, but without dis- 
playing any gratification. She was not at all ambitious, and, 
in fact, could not help fearing that such an elevation would 
bring down misfortune on the head of her son. 

One day, when Bonaparte was surrounded by his family, 
he placed the little Napoleon between his knees, and said, 
while playing with him, " Do you know, my little fellow, 
that you run the risk of being a king some day ? " " And 
Achille?"* immediately asked Murat, who was present. 
* Achille was the eldest son of Murat. 


" Oh, Achille," answered Bonaparte, " will be a great sol- 
dier." This reply incensed Mme. Murat; but Bonaparte, 
pretending not to notice her, and stung by his brother's 
opposition, which he believed with reason to have been 
prompted by Mme. Murat, went on to say to his little step- 
grandson, " And mind, my poor child, I advise you, if you 
value your life, not to accept invitations to dine with your 

We may imagine to what feelings such bitter words 
would give rise. From that moment Louis Bonaparte was 
beset by his family, who adroitly reminded him of the ru- 
mors respecting his wife, and that he ought not to sacrifice 
the interests of his own kinsfolk to those of a child who was 
at least half a Beauharnais ; and, as Louis Bonaparte was not 
quite so destitute of ambition as people have since made him 
out, he, like Joseph, went to the First Consul to ask why 
the sacrifice of his own rights should be demanded of him. 
" Why;" said he, " should I yield my share of inheritance to 
my son ? How have I deserved to be cut off ? What will 
my position be when this child, having become yours, finds 
himself very much higher placed than I, and quite indepen- 
dent of me, standing next to yourself, and regarding me 
with suspicion, if not with contempt ? ~No ; I will never 
consent to this ; and, rather than renounce the proper course 
of succession to the royalty which is to be yours, rather than 
consent to humble myself before my own son, I will leave 
France, taking Napoleon with me, and we shall see whether 
you will dare openly to take a child from his father ! " 

The First Consul, powerful as he was, found it impossi- 
ble to overcome his brother's opposition. His wrath availed 
nothing, and he was obliged to yield, for fear of a vexatious 
and even ridiculous scandal ; for such it certainly would have 
been, to see this whole family quarreling beforehand over 
the crown which France had not yet actually conferred. 

The strife was hushed up, and Napoleon was obliged to 
draw up the scheme of succession, and the possible case of 


adoption which he reserved to himself the power of making, 
in the terms to be found in the decree relating to the eleva- 
tion of the First Consul to the Empire. 

These quarrels embittered the enmity already existing 
between the Bonapartes and the Beauharnais. The former 
regarded the plan of adoption as the result of Mme. Bona-- 
parte's scheming. Louis gave stricter orders to his wife than 
before that she should hold no familiar intercourse with her 
mother. " If you consult her interests at the cost of mine," 
he told her harshly, "I swear to you that I will make you 
repent. I will separate you from your son ; I will shut you 
up in some out-of-the-way place, and no power on earth shall 
deliver you. You shall pay for your concessions to your own 
family by the wretchedness of the rest of your life. And 
take care, above all, that none of my threats reach the ears 
of my brother. Even his power should not save you from 
my anger." 

Mme. Louis bowed her head, a patient victim to this vio- 
lence. She was then expecting the birth of her second child. 
Grief and anxiety told upon her health, which was perma- 
nently injured ; the fresh complexion, her only beauty, dis- 
appeared. She had possessed natural spirits, but they now 
died away for ever ; and she became silent and timid. She 
refrained from confiding her troubles to her mother, whose 
indiscretion and hasty temper she dreaded; and neither 
would she further irritate the First Consul. He, knowing 
well his brother's character, felt grateful to her for her reti- 
cence, and guessed at the sufferings she had to endure. From 
that time forth he never let an opportunity pass without ex- 
hibiting the interest I may even say the respect with which 
the mild and prudent demeanor of his stepdaughter inspired 

What I have just said is quite opposed to the general 
opinion which has unfortunately been entertained of this 
unhappy woman; but her vindictive sisters-in-law never 
missed an opportunity of injuring her reputation by the 


most odious calumnies, and, as she bore the name of Bona- 
parte, the public, who, when they came to hate the Imperial 
despotism, included every one belonging to the family in 
their impartial contempt, readily believed every calumny 
against Mme. Louis. Her husband (whose ill treatment r of 
her irritated him all the more against her), obliged to own 
that she could not love him after the tyranny he had exer- 
cised, jealous with the jealousy of pride, and naturally suspi- 
cious, embittered by ill health, and utterly selfish, made her 
feel the full weight of conjugal despotism. She was sur- 
rounded by spies ; her letters were opened before they reached 
her hands ; her conversations even with female friends were 
resented ; and, if she complained of this insulting severity, 
he would say to her, " You can not love me. You are a 
woman consequently a being all made up of evil and deceit ; 
you are the daughter of an unprincipled mother ; you belong 
to a family that I loathe. Are not these reasons enough for 
me to suspect you ? " 

Mme. Louis, from whom I obtained these details long 
afterward, found her only comfort in the affection of her 
brother, whose conduct, though jealously watched by the 
Bonapartes, was unassailable. Eugene, who was simple and 
frank, light-hearted, and open in all his dealings, displaying 
no ambition, holding himself aloof from every intrigue, and 
doing his duty wherever he was placed, disarmed calumny 
before it could reach him, and knew nothing of all that took 
place in the palace. His sister loved him passionately, and 
confided her sorrows to him only, during the few moments 
that the jealous watchfulness of Louis allowed them to pass 

Meanwhile, the First Consul, having complained to the 
Elector of Bavaria of the correspondence which Mr. Drake 
kept up in France, and this English gentleman entertaining 
some apprehensions as to his own safety, as did also Sir Spen- 
cer Smith, the British Envoy at the Court of "Wiirtemberg, 
they both suddenly disappeared. Lord Morpeth asked the 


Government, in the House of Commons, for an explanation 
of Drake's conduct. The Chancellor of the Exchequer re- 
plied that the envoy had been given authority for his pro- 
ceedings, and that a fuller explanation should be afforded 
when the ambassador had furnished the information that had 
been demanded from him. 

At this time Bonaparte held long and frequent consulta- 
tions with M. de Talleyrand. The latter, whose opinions were 
essentially monarchical, urged the Consul to change his title 
to that of King. He has since owned to me that the name 
of Emperor alarmed him ; it conveyed a sense of vagueness 
and immensity, which was precisely what charmed the imagi- 
nation of Bonaparte. He added, "A combination of the 
Roman Republic and of Charlemagne in the title turned his 
head. I amused myself one day by mystifying Berthier. I 
took him aside, and said to him, ' You know of the great 
scheme that is occupying us. Go to the Consul, and urge 
him to take the title of King ; it will please him.' Accord- 
ingly Berthier, who was delighted to have an opportunity of 
speaking to Bonaparte on an agreeable subject, went up to 
him at the other end of the room in which we were all as- 
sembled, and I drew back a little, foreseeing the storm. Ber- 
thier began his little speech, but at the word 'King' Bona- 
parte's eyes flashed fire ; he seized Berthier by the throat, 
and pushed him back against the wall. 'You idiot!' he 
said ; ' who has been advising you to come here and excite 
my anger ? Another time, don't take such a task on your- 
self.' Poor Berthier, in dire confusion, looked piteously at 
me, and it was a long time before he forgave my sorry jest." 

At last, on April 30, 1804, the tribune Curee, who had 
no doubt learnt his part, and who, later on, was rewarded 
for his complaisance by being created a senator, made what 
was then called " a motion of order " in the Tribunate, de- 
manding that the government of the Republic should be con- 
fided to an Emperor, and that the Empire should be made 
hereditary in the family of Napoleon Bonaparte. His speech 


was effective. He regarded an hereditary succession, he 
said, as a guarantee against plots from without, and that in 
reality the title of Emperor only meant " Yictorious Consul." 
Nearly all the tribunes put down their names to speak. A 
commission of thirteen members was appointed. Carnot 
alone had the courage to protest against this proposal. He 
declared that he would vote against an Empire, for the same 
reason that he had voted against a life Consulship, but with- 
out any personal animosity, and that he was quite prepared 
to render obedience to the Emperor should he be elected. 
He spoke in high praise of the American form of govern- 
ment, and added that Bonaparte might have adopted it at 
the time of the treaty of Amiens ; that the abuses of despot- 
ism led to worse results than the abuses of liberty ; and that, 
before smoothing the way to this despotism, which would be 
all the more dangerous because it was reared on military suc- 
cess, it would have been advisable to create institutions for 
its due repression. Notwithstanding Carnot's opposition, the 
motion was put to the vote and adopted. 

On May 4th a deputation from the Tribunate carried it 
to the Senate, who were already prepared for it. The Yice- 
President, Frangois de Neufchateau, replied that the Senate 
had expected the vote, and would take it into consideration. 
At the same sitting it was decided that the motion of the 
Tribunate and the answer of the Yice-President should be 
laid before the First Consul. 

On May 5th the Senate sent an address to Bonaparte, 
asking him, without further explanation, for a final act 
which would insure the future peace of France. His answer 
to this address may be read in the "Moniteur." "I beg 
you," he said, "to let me know your entire purpose. I 
desire that we may be able to say to the French nation on 
the 14th of next July, 'The possessions that you acquired 
fifteen years ago, liberty, equality, and glory, are now be- 
yond the reach of every storm." In reply, the Senate voted 
unanimously for imperial government, adding that, in the 


interests of the French people, it was important that it 
should be intrusted to Napoleon Bonaparte. 

After May 8th addresses from the towns poured in at 
Saint Cloud. An address from Lyons came first; a little 
later came those from Paris and other places. At the same 
time came the vote from Klein's division,* and then one 
from the troops in camp at Montreuil under the orders of 
General Ney ; f and the other divisions promptly followed 
these examples. M. de Fontanes addressed the First Consul 
in the name of the Corps Le*gislatif, which at this moment 
was not sitting; but those among its members who were 
then in Paris met, and voted as the Senate had done. The 
excitement that these events caused at Saint Cloud may 
readily be imagined. 

I have already recorded the disappointment which Louis 
Bonaparte's rejection of the project of adoption had inflicted 
on his mother-in-law. She still hoped, however, that the 
First Consul would contrive, if he himself remained in the 
same mind, to overcome the opposition of his brother ; and 
she expressed to me her delight that her husband's new pros- 
pects had not induced him to reconsider the terrible question 
of the divorce. Whenever Bonaparte was displeased with 
his brothers, Mme. Bonaparte always rose in his estimation, 
because he found consolation in the unfailing sweetness of 
her disposition. She never tried to extract from him any 
promise either for herself or for her children ; and the confi- 
dence she showed in his affection, together with the disin- 
terestedness of Eugene, when contrasted with the exactions 
of the Bonaparte family, could not fail to please him. Mme. 
Bacciochi and Murat, who were in great anxiety about com- 
ing events, endeavored to worm out of M. de Talleyrand, or 
out of Fouche*, the secret projects of the First Consul, so 
that they might know what to expect. Their perturbation 

* General Klein afterward married the daughter of the Countess d'Arberg, a 
lady-in-waiting. He was created senator, and remained a peer under the King, 
t Afterward Marshal Ney. 


was beyond their power to conceal ; and it was with some 
amusement that I detected it in their troubled glances and 
in every word they let fall. 

At last we were told, one evening, that on the following 
day the Senate was to come in great state and lay before 
Bonaparte the decree which should give him a crown. 
When I recall that evening, the emotions I experienced on 
hearing the news return to me. The First Consul, when in- 
forming his wife of the coming event, had told her he in- 
tended to surround himself with a more numerous Court, 
but that he would fitly distinguish between the new-comers 
and those old servants who had first devoted themselves to his 
service. He particularly desired her to assure M. de Re- 
musat and me of his good will toward us. I have already 
told how he bore with the anguish which I was unable to 
hide on the occasion of the death of the Due d'Enghien. 
His indulgence on this point did not diminish ; perhaps it 
amused him to pry into my secret feelings, and gradually to 
appease them by such marked kindness that it revived my 
flagging attachment to him. 

I could not as yet overcome my feelings toward him. I 
grieved over his great fault ; but when I saw that he was, so 
to speak, a better man than formerly, though I believed he 
had made a fatal mistake, I felt grateful to him for keeping 
his word and being gentle and kind afterward, as he had 
promised. The fact is that at this period he could not afford 
to dispense with anybody, and he therefore neglected no 
means of success. His dexterous behavior toward M. de 
Caulaincourt had won him over so that he had gradually re- 
covered his former serenity of mind, and was at this epoch 
one of the confidants of the First Consul's schemes. Bona- 
parte, having questioned his wife as to what each person at 
Court had said at the time of the prince's death, learned from 
her that M. de Bemusat, who was habitually reticent both 
from inclination and from prudence, but who always spoke 
the truth when asked, had not hesitated to own his indigna- 


tion. Being apparently resolved that nothing should irritate 
him, he broached the subject to M. de Remusat, and, having 
revealed to him as much of his policy as he thought proper, 
succeeded in convincing my husband that he had really be- 
lieved the Duke's death indispensable to the safety of France. 
My husband, when repeating this conversation to me, said, 
" I am far from agreeing with him that this deed of blood 
was needed to establish his authority, and I did not hesitate 
to tell him so ; but I own that it is a relief to me to think 
that he did not commit the crime out of revenge. He is 
evidently distressed, no matter what he may say, by the ef- 
fect it has produced ; and I believe he will never again seek 
to strengthen his authority by such terrible means. I did 
not neglect to point out to him that in an age like ours, and 
in a nation like ours, it is playing a dangerous game to rule 
by terror and bloodshed ; and I think that the earnest atten- 
tion with which he listened to me augurs well for the future." 

This sincere avowal of what we both felt shows how much 
need we had of hope. Severe judges of other people might 
blame us, no doubt, for the facility with which we again de- 
ceived ourselves, and impute our credulity, with apparent 
justice, to our own position in the Court. Ah ! it is so hard to 
have to blush in secret for the calling one has chosen, it is so 
pleasant to like one's self-imposed duties, it is so natural to 
paint in bright colors one's own and one's country's future, 
that it is only after a long struggle the conviction of a truth 
which must shatter one's whole life is admitted. Such a 
truth did come home to us, slowly, but with a strength that 
could not be gainsaid ; and we paid dearly for an error to 
which all well-disposed persons clung as long as possible. 

On May 18, 1804, the Second Consul, Cambace*res, Presi- 
dent of the Senate, came to Saint Cloud, accompanied by all 
the senators and escorted by a large body of troops. He 
made a set speech, and gave to Bonaparte for the first time 
the title of "Your Majesty." Bonaparte took it calmly, just 
as though he had borne it all his life. The Senate then pro- 


ceeded to the apartment of Mme. Bonaparte, who in her turn 
was proclaimed Empress. She replied with that natural 
grace which always raised her to the level of any position, 
however lofty, in which she might be placed. 

At the same time, the Grand Dignitaries, as they were 
called, were created Grand Elector, Joseph Bonaparte; 
High Constable, Louis Bonaparte ; Arch-Chancellor of the 
Empire, Cambaceres ; Arch-Treasurer, Lebrun. The Minis- 
ters, Maret (the Secretary of State, who ranked with the 
Ministers), the Colonels-general of the Guards, Duroc (the 
Governor of the Palace), and the aides-de-camp took the 
oaths; and the next day the officers of the army, among 
whom was Colonel Eugene Beauharnais, were presented to 
the Emperor by the new Constable. 

The opposition which Bonaparte had encountered in his 
own family, to his intended adoption of the little Louis, in- 
duced him to postpone that project. The succession was 
therefore declared to belong to the heirs male of Napoleon 
Bonaparte, and failing these, to the sons of Joseph and of 
Louis, who were created Imperial Princes. The organic 
senatus consultum declared that the Emperor might adopt 
as his successor any one of his nephews whom he chose, but 
not until the selected individual had reached the age of 
eighteen, and that no further act of adoption could take place 
in the family. 

The civil list was to be the same as that granted to the 
King in 1791, and the princes were to be endowed in accord- 
ance with the law of December 20, 1791. The great digni- 
taries were to have one third of the sum settled on the 
princes. They were to preside over the electoral colleges of 
the six largest towns in the Empire, and the princes, from 
the eighteenth year of their age, were to be permanent mem- 
bers of the Senate and the Council of State. 

Fourteen Marshals of France were created at this date, 
and the title of Marshal was conferred on four of the Sena- 
tors. The new Marshals were Berthier, Murat, Moncey, 


Jourdan, Massena, Augereau, Bernadotte, Soult, Brune, 
Lannes, Mortier, Ney, Davoust, Bessieres ; the four Senators 
were Kellermann, Lefebvre, Perignon, and Semirier. 

An article in the " Moniteur " apprised the public that 
the title of Imperial Highness was to be given to the princes, 
that of Serene Highness and Monseigneur to the great dig- 
nitaries ; that the Ministers were to be called Monseigneur 
by public officials and all petitioners, and the Marshals Mon- 
sieur le Marechal. 

Thus disappeared the title of " Citizen," which had long 
since been disused in society, where "Monsieur" had re- 
sumed its former place, but which Bonaparte was always 
most careful to employ. On the same day, the 18th of May, 
his brothers, with Cambaceres and Lebrun and the officers of 
his household, were invited to dine with him, and we heard 
him use the old word " Monsieur " for the first time, without 
being betrayed by habit into saying " Citizen " even once. 

Titles were also accorded to the great officers of the Em- 
pire, eight inspectors and colonels-general of artillery, engi- 
neers, cavalry, and the navy, and the great civil officers of 
the Crown, to whom I shall refer hereafter. 


Effects and Causes of the Accession of Bonaparte to the Imperial Throne The 
Emperor converses The Grievances of Mme. Murat The Character of M. de 
Ke"musat The New Court. 

THE accession of Bonaparte to the Imperial throne was 
very variously regarded in Europe, and even in France opin- 
ions were divided. It is, however, quite certain that it did 
not displease the great majority of the nation. The Jaco- 
bins were not astonished by it, for they themselves were in 
the habit of pushing success as far as it would go, whenever 
luck favored them. Among the Royalists it spread disheart- 
enment, and that was just what Bonaparte wanted. The 
exchange of the Consulate for Imperial authority was, how- 
ever, regarded with dislike by all true friends of liberty. 
These true friends were, unfortunately, divided into two 
classes, so that their influence was diminished an evil which 
still exists. One class regarded the change of the reigning 
dynasty with indifference, and would have accepted Bona- 
parte as readily as another, provided that he had received his 
royal authority in right of a constitution which would have 
restrained as well as founded it. They regarded the seizure 
of power by an enterprising and warlike man with serious 
apprehension; for it was plain enough that the so-called 
" bodies of the State," which were already reduced to insig- 
nificance, would be unable to check his encroachments. The 
Senate seemed to be given over to mere passive obedience ; 
the Tribunate was shaken to its foundations ; and what was 
to be expected from a silent Corps Legislatif ? The Minis- 
ters, deprived of all responsibility, were no more than head 


clerks, and it was evident beforehand that the Council of 
State would henceforth be merely a storehouse, whence such 
laws as circumstances might demand could be taken, as occa- 
sion for them arose. 

If this section of the friends of liberty had been more 
numerous and better led, it might have set itself to demand 
the settled and legitimate exercise of its rights, which is 
never demanded in vain by a nation in the long run. There 
existed, however, a second party, which agreed with the first 
on fundamental principles only, and, abiding by theories of 
its own, which it had already attempted to practice in a dan- 
gerous and sanguinary manner, lost the opportunity of pro- 
ducing an effective opposition. To this section belonged the 
proselytes of the Anglo-American Government, who had 
disgusted the nation with the notion of liberty. 

They had witnessed the creation of the Consulate without 
any protest, for it was a tolerably fair imitation of the Presi- 
dentship of the United States ; they believed, or wished to 
believe, that Bonaparte would maintain that equality of rights 
to which they attached so much importance, and some among^ 
them were really deceived. I say " some," because I think 
the greater number fell into a trap, baited with flattery and 
consultations on all sorts of matters, which Bonaparte dex- 
terously set for them. If they had not had some private 
interest to serve by deceiving themselves, how could they 
have declared afterward that they had approved of Bona- 
parte only as Consul, but that as Emperor he was odious to 
them? In what respect was he, while Consul, different 
from his ordinary self ? What was his Consular authority 
but dictatorship under another name ? Did he not, as Con- 
sul, make peace and declare war without consulting the* 
nation ? Did not the right of levying the conscription de- 
volve upon him ? Did he permit freedom in the discussion 
of affairs ? Could any journal publish a single article with- 
out his approval ? Did he not make it perfectly clear that 
he held his power by the right of his victorious arms ? How y 


then, could stern Republicans have allowed him to take them 
by surprise ? 

I can understand how it was that men, worn out by the 
turmoil of the Revolution, and afraid of that liberty which 
had been so long associated with death, looked for repose 
under the dominion of an able ruler, on whom fortune was 
seemingly resolved to smile. I can conceive that they 
regarded his elevation as a decree of destiny, and fondly 
believed that in the irrevocable they should find peace. I 
may confidently assert that those persons believed quite sin- 
cerely that Bonaparte, whether as Consul or as Emperor, 
would exert his authority to oppose the attempts of faction, 
and would save us from the perils of anarchy. 

None dared to utter the word Republic, so deeply had 
the Terror stained that name, and the Directorial govern- 
ment had perished in the contempt with which its chiefs 
were regarded. The return of the Bourbons could only be 
brought about by the aid of a revolution ; and the slightest 
disturbance terrified the French people, in whom enthusiasm 
of every kind seemed to be dead. Besides, the men in whom 
they had trusted had, one after the other, deceived them ; 
and as, this time, they were yielding to force, they were at 
least certain that they were not deceiving themselves. 

The belief, or rather the error, that only despotism could 
at that epoch maintain order in France, was very widespread. 
It became the mainstay of Bonaparte ; and it is due to him 
to say that he also held it. The factions played into his 
hands by imprudent attempts which he turned to his own 
advantage ; he had some grounds for his belief that he was 
necessary ; France believed it too ; and he even succeeded 
in persuading foreign sovereigns that he formed a barrier 
against Republican influences, which, but for him, might 
spread widely. At the moment when Bonaparte placed the 
Imperial crown upon his head, there was not a king in Eu- 
rope who did not believe that he wore his own crown more 
securely because of that event. Had the new Emperor added 


to that decisive act the gift of a liberal constitution, the 
peace of nations and of kings might, in sober seriousness, 
have been for ever secured. 

Sincere defenders of Bonaparte's original system and 
some of these still exist advance, in justification of it, that 
we could not have exacted from him that which it belongs 
only to a legitimate sovereign to bestow ; that freedom to 
discuss our interests might have been followed by the dis- 
cussion of our rights ; that England, jealous of our reviving 
prosperity, would have fomented fresh disturbances among 
us ; that our princes had not abandoned their designs, and 
that the slow methods of constitutional government would 
not have availed to restrain the contending factions. Hume 
says, when speaking of Cromwell, that it is a great difficulty 
for a usurping government that its personal policy is gener- 
ally opposed to the interest of its country. This gives a su- 
periority to hereditary authority, of which it would be well 
that nations should be convinced. But, after all, Bonaparte 
was not an ordinary usurper ; his elevation offered no point 
of comparison with that of Cromwell. " I found the crown 
of France lying on the ground," said he, " and I took it up 
on the point of my sword." He was the product of an in- 
evitable revolution ; but he had no share in its disasters, and 
I sincerely believe that, until the death of the Due d'Enghien, 
it would have been possible for him to legitimize his power 
by conferring upon France benefits of a kind which would 
have pledged the nation to him and his for ever. 

His despotic ambition misled him ; but, I say it again, he 
was not the only one who went astray. He was beguiled by 
appearances which he did not take the trouble to investigate. 
The word " liberty " did indeed resound in the air about him, 
but those who uttered it were not held in sufficient esteem 
by the nation to be made its representatives to him. Well- 
meaning, honest folk asked nothing of him but repose, and 
did not trouble themselves about the form under which it 
was to be granted. And then, he knew well that the secret 


weakness of the French nation was vanity, and he saw a 
means of gratifying it easily by the pomp and display that 
attend on monarchical power. He revived distinctions which 
were now, in reality, democratic, because they were placed 
within the reach of all and entailed no privileges. The 
eagerness displayed in the pursuit of these titles, and of 
crosses, which were objects of derision while they hung on 
the coats of one's neighbors, was not likely to undeceive 
him, if indeed he was on the wrong road. Was it not natu- 
ral, on the contrary, that he should applaud and congratulate 
himself, when he had succeeded in bringing feudal and re- 
publican pretensions to the same level by the assistance of a 
few bits of ribbons and some words added to men's names ? 
Had not we ourselves much to do with that notion which be- 
came so firmly fixed in his mind, that, for his own safety and 
for ours, he ought to use the power which he possessed to 
suspend the Revolution without destroying it ? " My suc- 
cessor," said he, " whoever he may be, will be forced to march 
with his own times, and to find his support in liberal opin- 
ions. I will bequeath them to him, but deprived of their 
primitive asperity." France imprudently applauded this 

Nevertheless, a warning voice that of conscience for 
him, that of our interests for us spoke to him and to us 
alike. If he would silence that importunate whisper, he 
would have to dazzle us by a series of surprising feats. 
Hence those interminable wars, whose duration was so all- 
important to him that he always called the peace which he 
signed " a halt," and hence the fact that into every one of 
his treaties he was forced by M. de Talleyrand's skill in nego- 
tiation. When he returned to Paris, and resumed the' admin- 
istration of the affairs of France, in addition to the fact that 
he did not know what to do with an army whose demands 
grew with its victories, he had to encounter the dumb but 
steady and inevitable resistance which the spirit of the age, 
in spite of individual proclivities, opposes to despotism ; so 


that despotism has happily become an impracticable mode of 
government. It died with the good fortune of Bonaparte, 
when, as Mme. de Stael said, " The terrible mace which he 
alone could wield fell at last upon his own head." Happy, 
thrice happy, are the days in which we are now living, since 
we have exhausted every experiment, and only madmen can 
dispute the road which leads to safety. 

Bonaparte was seconded for a long time by the military 
ardor of the youth of France. That insensate passion for 
conquest which has been implanted by an evil spirit in men 
collected into societies, to retard the progress of each genera- 
tion in every kind of prosperity, urged us forward in the 
path of Bonaparte's career of devastation. France can rarely 
resist glory, and it was especially tempting when it covered 
and disguised the humiliation to which we were then con- 
demned. When Bonaparte was quiet, he let us perceive the 
reality of our servitude ; when our sons marched away to 
plant our standards on the ramparts of all the great cities of 
Europe, that servitude disappeared. It was a long time be- 
fore we recognized that each one of our conquests was a link 
in the chain that fettered our liberties ; and, when we became 
fully aware of what our intoxication had led us into, it was 
too late for resistance. The army had become the accom- 
plice of tyranny, had broken with France, and would treat 
a cry for deliverance as revolt. 

The greatest of Bonaparte's errors one very characteris- 
tic of him was that he never took anything but success into 
account in the calculations on which he acted. Perhaps he 
was more excusable than another would have been in doubt- 
ing whether any reverse could come to him. His natural 
pride shrank from the idea of a defeat of any kind. There 
was the weak point in his strong mind, for such a man as he 
ought to have contemplated every contingency. But, as he 
lacked nobility of soul, and had not that instinctive elevation 
of mind which rises above evil fortune, he turned his thoughts 
away from this weakness in himself, and contemplated only 


his wonderful faculty of growing greater with success. " / 
shall succeed " was the basis of all his calculations, and his 
obstinate repetition of the phrase helped him to realize the 
prediction. At length his own good fortune grew into a 
superstition with him, and his worship of it made every sac- 
rifice which was to be imposed upon us fair and lawful in his 

And we ourselves let us once more own it did we not 
at first share this baleful superstition ? At the time of which 
I write, it had great mastery over our wonder-loving imagina- 
tions. The trial of General Moreau and the death of the Due 
d'Enghien had shocked every one's feelings, but had not 
changed public opinion. Bonaparte scarcely tried to conceal 
that both events had furthered the project which for a long 
time past he had been maturing. It is to the credit of hu- 
man nature that repugnance to crime is innate among us ; 
that we willingly believe, when a guilty act is acknowledged 
by its perpetrator, that he has been absolutely forced to 
commit it; and, when he succeeded in raising himself by 
such deeds, we too readily accepted the bargain that he of- 
fered us absolution on our part, as the guerdon of success 
on his. 

Thenceforth he was no longer beloved ; but the days in 
which monarchs reign through the love of nations are gone 
by, and, when Bonaparte let us see that he could punish even 
our thoughts, he was well pleased to exchange the affection 
we had striven to retain for him for the very real fear that 
he inspired. We admired, or at least we wondered at, the 
boldness of the game which he was openly playing; and 
when at last he sprang, with imposing audacity, from the 
blood-stained grave at Yincennes to the steps of the Imperial 
throne, exclaiming, " I have won ! " France, in her amaze- 
ment, could but reecho his words. And that was all he 
wanted her do. 

A few days after Bonaparte had assumed the title of 
Emperor (by which I shall not scruple to designate him, for, 


after all, lie bore it longer than that of Consul *), on one of 
those occasions when, as I have said before, he was disposed 
to talk freely to us, he was discussing his new position with 
the Empress, my husband, and myself. I think I see him 
still, in the window-recess of a drawing-room at Saint Cloud, 
astride on a chair, resting his chin on the back of it. Mme. 
Bonaparte reclined on a sofa near him ; I was sitting oppo- 
site him, and M. de Remusat stood behind my chair. For a 
long time the Emperor had been silent ; then he suddenly 
addressed me : " You have borne me a grudge for the death 
of the Due d'Enghien?" "It is true, Sire," I answered, 
" and I still bear it you. I believe you did yourself much 
harm by that act." " But are you aware that he was waiting 
at the frontier for me to be assassinated ? " " Possibly, Sire ; 
but still he was not in France." " Ah ! there is no harm in 
showing other countries, now and then, that one is the mas- 
ter." " There, Sire, do not let us speak of it, or you will 
make me cry." " Ah ! tears ! "Woman's only weapon. That 
is like Josephine. She thinks she has carried her point when 
she begins to cry. Are not tears, M. de Remusat, the strong- 
est argument of women?" "Sire," replied my husband, 
" there are tears which can not be censured." 

" All ! I perceive that you also take a serious view of the 
matter. But that is quite natural ; you have seen other days, 
all of you, and you remember them. I only date from the 
day when I began to be somebody. What is a Due d'En- 
ghien to me 3 Only an emigre, more important than the 
others nothing more. But that was enough to make me 
strike hard. Those crack-brained Royalists had actually 
spread a report that I was to replace the Bourbons on the 
throne. The Jacobins became alarmed, and they sent Fouche* 
to me to inquire into my intentions. Power has for the last 
two years fallen so naturally into my hands, that people may 

* This remark would appear a strange one, if the reader did not recollect 
that the Memoirs were written under the Restoration, when the wx)rds Emperor, 
Empire, and Bonaparte were no longer uttered in good society. P. R. 


well have doubted sometimes whether I had any serious in- 
tention of investing myself with it officially. I came to the 
conclusion that it was my duty to profit by this, in order to 
put a lawful end to the Revolution. The reason why I chose 
Empire rather than Dictatorship is because one becomes 
legitimate by taking up well-known ground. I began by 
trying to reconcile the two contending factions at the time 
of my accession to the Consulship. I thought that, in estab- 
lishing order by means of permanent institutions, I should 
put an end to their enterprises ; but factions are not to be 
put down so long as any fear of them is shown, and every 
attempt to conciliate them looks like fear. Besides, it may 
sometimes be possible to get the better of a sentiment ; but 
of an opinion, never. I saw clearly that I could make no 
alliance between the two, but that I might make one with 
both of them on my own account. The Concordat and the 
permissions to return have conciliated the emigres, and I 
shall soon be completely reconciled with them ; for you will 
see how the attractions of a Court will allure them. The 
mere phrases that recall former habits will win over the no- 
bility, but the Jacobins require deeds. They are not men to 
be won by fair words. They were satisfied with my neces- 
sary severity when, after the 3d Nivose,* at the very mo- 
ment of a purely Royalist conspiracy, I transported a number 
of Jacobins. They might justly have complained if I had 
struck a weaker blow. You all thought I was becoming 
cruel and bloodthirsty, but you were wrong. I have no feel- 
ings of hatred I am not capable of acting from revenge ; I 
only sweep obstacles from my path, and, if it were expedient, 
you should see me pardon Georges Cadoudal to-morrow, al- 
though he came simply and solely to assassinate me. 

" When people find that public tranquillity is the result 
of the event in question, they will no longer reproach me 
with it, and in a year's time this execution will be regarded 
as a great act of policy. It is true, however, that it has 

* The epoch of the " infernal machine." 


driven me to shorten the crisis. What I have just done I 
did not intend to do for two years yet. I meant to retain 
the Consulate, although words and things clash with one an- 
other under this form of government, and the signature I 
affixed to all the acts of my authority was the sign manual of 
a continual lie. We should have got on nevertheless, France 
and I, because she has confidence in me, and what I will she 

"As, however, this particular conspiracy was meant to 
shake the whole of Europe, the Eoyalists and also Europe 
had to be undeceived. I had to choose between continuous 
persecution or one decisive blow ; and my decision was not 
doubtful. I have for ever silenced both Royalists and Jaco- 
bins. Only the Republicans remain mere dreamers, who 
think a republic can be made out of an old monarchy, and 
that Europe would stand by and let us quietly found a fede- 
rative government of twenty million men. The Republicans 
I shall not win, but they are few in number and not impor- 
tant. The rest of you Frenchmen like a monarchy ; it is only 
the government that pleases you. I will wager that you, M. 
de Remusat, are a hundred times more at your ease, now 
that you call me Sire and that I address you as Mon- 

As there was some truth in this remark, my husband 
laughed, and answered that certainly the sovereign power be- 
came his Majesty very well. 

" The fact is," resumed the Emperor, good-humoredly, " I 
believe I should not know how to obey. I recollect, at the 
time of the Treaty of Campo Formio, M. de Cobentzel and I 
met, in order to conclude it, in a room where, according to 
an Austrian custom, a dais had been erected and the throne 
of the Emperor of Austria was represented. On entering 
the room, I asked what that meant ; and afterward I said to 
the Austrian Minister, 'Now, before we begin, have that 
arm-chair removed, for I can never see one seat higher than 
the others without instantly wanting to place myself in it.' 


You see, I had an instinct of what was to happen to me some 

" I have now acquired one great advantage for my gov- 
ernment of France : neither she nor I will deceive ourselves 
any longer. Talleyrand wanted me to make myself King 
that is the word of his dictionary ; but I will have no grands 
seigneurs, except those I make myself. Besides which, the 
title of King is worn out. Certain preconceived ideas are 
attached to it ; it would make me a kind of heir, and I will 
be the heir of no one. The title that I bear is a grander 
one ; it is still somewhat vague, and leaves room for the im- 
agination. Here is a revolution brought to an end, and, I 
flatter myself, not harshly. Would you know why? Be- 
cause no interests have been displaced, and many have been 
revived. That vanity of yours must always have breathing 
room ; you would have been wearied to death with the dull 
sternness of a republican government. What caused the 
Bevolution? Yanity. What will end it? Vanity again. 
Liberty is a pretext ; equality is your hobby, and here are 
the people quite pleased with a king taken from the ranks 
of the soldiery. Men like the Abbe Sieyes," he added, 
laughing, " may inveigh against despotism, but my authority 
will always be popular. To-day I have the people and the 
army on my side ; and with these a man would be a great 
fool who could not reign." 

With these concluding words, Bonaparte rose. Hitherto 
he had been very agreeable; his tone of voice, his counte- 
nance, his gestures, all were familiar and encouraging. He 
had been smiling, he had seen our answering smiles, and had 
even been amused by the remarks we had made on his dis- 
course ; in fact, he had put us perfectly at our ease. But 
now, in a moment, his manner changed. He looked at us 
sternly, in a way that always seemed to increase his short 
stature, and gave M. de Hemusat some insignificant order in 
the curt tone of a despotic master, who takes care that every 
request shall be a command. 


His tone of voice, so different from that to which I had 
been listening for the last hour, made me start ; and, when 
we had withdrawn, my husband, who had noticed my invol- 
untary movement, told me that he had felt the same sensa- 
tion. "You perceive," he said, a he was afraid that this 
momentary unbending and confidence might lessen the fear 
he is always anxious to inspire. He therefore thought proper 
to dismiss us with a reminder that he is the master." I 
never forgot this just observation, and more than once I have 
seen that it was founded on a sound appreciation of Bona- 
parte's character. 

I have allowed myself to digress in relating this conver- 
sation and the reflections which preceded it, and must now 
return to the day on which Bonaparte was made Emperor, 
and continue to depict the curious scenes of which I was an 

I have already enumerated the guests whom Bonaparte 
invited to dine with him on that day. Just before dinner 
was announced, Duroc, the Governor of the Palace, informed 
each of us, severally, that the title of Prince was to be given 
to Joseph and Louis Bonaparte, and that of Princess to their 
wives. Mmes. Bacciochi and Murat were enraged at the 
distinction thus made between themselves and their sisters- 
in-law; and Mme. Murat could hardly conceal her anger. 
At six o'clock the new Emperor made his appearance, and, 
with perfect ease and readiness, saluted each one present by 
his or her new title. The scene made a deep impression on 
me ; I felt it like a presentiment. The early part of the day 
had been fine, but very hot ; but, about the time of the arri- 
val of the Senate at Saint Cloud, the weather suddenly 
changed, the sky became overcast, thunder was heard, and 
for several hours a storm seemed impending. The dark and 
heavy atmosphere which weighed on the palace of Saint 
Cloud struck me as an evil omen, and I could hardly conceal 
the depression I felt. The Emperor was in good spirits, and, 
I think, secretly enjoyed the slight confusion which the 


new ceremonial created among us all. The Empress was, 
as usual, gracious, and unaffected, and easy; Joseph and 
Louis looked pleased ; Mme. Joseph appeared resigned to 
anything that might be required of her ; Mme. Louis was 
equally submissive ; and Eugene Beauharnais, whom I can 
not praise too highly in comparison with the others, was sim- 
ple and natural, evidently free from any secret ambition or 
repining. This was not the case with the new-made Mar- 
shal Murat ; but his fear of his brother-in-law forced him to 
restrain himself, and he maintained a sullen silence. Mme. 
Murat was excessively angry, and during the dinner had so 
little control over herself that, on hearing the Emperor ad- 
dress Mme. Louis several times as "Princess," she could not 
restrain her tears. She drank several glasses of water in or- 
der to recover herself, and to appear to be taking something 
at the table, but her tears were not to be checked. Every 
one was embarrassed, and her brother smiled maliciously. 
For my own part, I was surprised, and even shocked, to see 
that young and pretty face disfigured by emotions whose 
source was so mean a passion. 

Mme. Murat was then between twenty-two and twenty- 
three years of age ; her dazzlingly white skin, her beautiful 
fair hair, the flowery wreath which decked it, the rose-colored 
dress she wore, all contributed to give her a youthful and 
childlike appearance. The feelings which she now displayed 
contrasted harshly with those charms. ]STo one could pity 
her tears, and I think they impressed every one else as disa- 
greeably as they impressed me. 

Mme. Bacciochi, who was older and had more command 
over herself, shed no tears ; but her manner was abrupt and 
sarcastic, and she treated us all with marked haughtiness. 

The Emperor became annoyed at last by his sisters' be- 
havior, and he aggravated their ill humor by indirect taunts, 
which wounded them very deeply. All that I witnessed 
during that eventful day gave me new notions of the effect 
which ambition produces on minds of a certain order ; it was 


a spectacle of which I could have formed no previous con- 

On the following day, after a family dinner, a violent 
scene took place, at which I was not present ; but we could 
hear something of it through the wall which divided the 
Empress's boudoir from our salon. Mme. Murat burst into 
complaints, tears, and reproaches; she asked why she and 
her sisters were to be condemned to obscurity and contempt, 
while strangers were to be loaded with honors and dignity ? 
Bonaparte answered her angrily, asserting several times that 
he was master, and would distribute honors as he pleased. 
It was on this occasion that he uttered the memorable re- 
mark, " Really, inesdames, to hear your pretension, one would 
think we hold the crown from our father, the late King." 

The Empress afterward retailed to me the whole of this 
angry dispute. With all her kind-heartedness, she could not 
help enjoying the wrath of a person who so thoroughly dis- 
liked her. The discussion ended by Mme. Murat's falling 
on the floor in a dead faint, overcome by her excessive anger 
and by the acrimony of her brother's reproaches. At this, 
Bonaparte's anger vanished, and when his sister recovered 
consciousness he gave her some little encouragement. A 
few days later, after a consultation with M. de Talleyrand, 
Cambaceres, and others, it was arranged that titles of courtesy 
should be given to the sisters of the Emperor, and we learned 
from the "Moniteur" that they were to be addressed as 
" Imperial Highness." 

Another vexation was, however, in store for Mme. Murat 
and her husband. The private regulations of the palace of 
Saint Cloud divided the Imperial apartment into several re- 
ception-rooms, which could only be entered according to the 
newly acquired rank of each person. The room nearest the 
Emperor's cabinet became the throne-room, or Princes' room, 
and Marshal Murat, although the husband of a princess, was 
excluded from it. M. de Eemusat had the unpleasant task 
of refusing him admittance when he was about to pass in. 


Although my husband was not responsible for the orders he 
had received, and executed them with scrupulous politeness, 
Murat was deeply offended by this public aifront; and he 
and his wife, already prejudiced against us on account of our 
attachment to the Empress, henceforth honored us both, if I 
may use the word, with a secret enmity, of which we have 
more than once experienced the effects. Mme. Murat, how- 
ever, who had discovered her influence over her brother, was 
far from considering the case hopeless on this occasion ; and, 
in fact, she eventually succeeded in raising her husband to 
the position she so eagerly desired for him. 

The new code of precedence caused some disturbance in 
a Court which had hitherto been tolerably quiet. The 
struggle of contending vanity that convulsed the Imperial 
family was parodied in Mme. Bonaparte's circle. 

In addition to her four ladies-in-waiting, Mme. Bonaparte 
was in the habit of receiving the wives of the various officers 
attached to the service of the First Consul. Besides these, 
Mme. Murat was frequently invited she lived permanently 
at Saint Cloud on account of her husband's position there ; 
also Mme. de la Yalette, the Marquis de Beauharnais's daugh- 
ter, whose misfortunes and conjugal tenderness afterward 
made her famous at the time of the sentence passed on her 
husband and his escape, in 1815. He was of very humble 
origin, but clever, and of an amiable disposition. After hav- 
ing served some time in the army, he had abandoned a mode 
of life unsuited to his tastes. The First Consul had employed 
him on some diplomatic missions, and had just appointed him 
Counsellor of State. He evinced extreme devotion to all the 
Beauharnais, whose kinsman he had become. His wife was 
amiable and unpretending by nature, but it seemed as though 
vanity were to become the ruling passion in every one be- 
longing to the Court, of both sexes and all ages. 

An order from the Emperor which gave the ladies-in- 
waiting precedence over others became a signal for an out- 
burst of feminine jealousy. Mme. Maret, a cold, proud per- 


sonage, was annoyed that we should take precedence of her, 
and made common cause with Mme. Murat, who fully shared 
her feelings. Besides this, M. de Talleyrand, who was no 
friend to Maret, and mercilessly ridiculed his absurdities, 
and was also on bad terms with Murat, had become an object 
of dislike to both, and, consequently, a bond of union be- 
tween the two. The Empress did not like anybody who 
was a friend of Mme. Murat, and treated Mme. Maret with 
some coldness ; and, although I never shared any of these 
feelings, and, for my own part, disliked nobody, I was in- 
cluded in the animadversions of that party upon the Beau- 

On Sunday morning the new Empress received com- 
mands to appear at mass, attended only by her four ladies- 
in-waiting. Mme. de la Yalette, who had hitherto accom- 
panied her aunt on all occasions, finding herself suddenly 
deprived of this privilege, burst into tears, and so we had to 
set about consoling this ambitious young lady. I observed 
these things with much amusement, preserving my serenity 
in these somewhat absurd dissensions, which were, neverthe- 
less, natural enough. So much was it a matter of course for 
the inmates of the palace to live in a state of excitement, and 
to be either joyous or depressed according as their new-born 
projects of ambition were accomplished or disappointed, that 
one day, when I was in great spirits and laughing heartily at 
some jest or other, one of Bonaparte's aides-de-camp came up 
to me and asked me in a low voice whether I had been prom- 
ised some new dignity. I could not help asking him in re- 
turn whether he fancied that at Saint Cloud one must always 
be in tears unless one was a princess. 

Yet I had my own little ambition too, but it was moderate 
and easy to satisfy. The Emperor had made known to me 
through the Empress, and M. de Caulaincourt had repeated 
it to my husband, that, on the consolidation of his own for- 
tunes, he would not forget those who had from the first de- 
voted themselves to his service. Relying on this assurance, 


we felt easy with regard to our future, and took no steps to 
render it secure. We were wrong, for every one else was 
actively at work. M. de Remusat had always kept aloof 
from any kind of scheming, a defect in a man who lived at 
a Court. Certain good qualities are absolutely a bar to ad- 
vancement in the favor of sovereigns. They do not like to 
find generous feelings and philosophical opinions which are 
a mark of independence of mind in their surroundings ; and 
they think it still less pardonable that those who serve them 
should have any means of escaping from their power. Bo- 
naparte, who was exacting in the kind of service he required, 
quickly perceived that M. de Remusat would serve him faith- 
fully, and yet would not bend to all his caprices. This dis- 
covery, together with some additional circumstances which I 
shall relate in their proper places, induced him to discard his 
obligations to him. He retained my husband near him ; he 
made use of him to suit his own convenience ; but he did 
not confer the same honors upon him which he bestowed on 
many others, because he knew that no favors would procure 
the compliance of a man who was incapable of sacrificing 
self-respect to ambition. The arts of a courtier were, be- 
sides, incompatible with M. de Remusat's tastes. He liked 
solitude, serious occupations, family life ; every feeling of 
his heart was tender and pure ; the use, or rather the waste 
of his time, which was exclusively occupied in a continual 
and minute attention to the details of Court etiquette, was a 
source of constant regret to him. The Revolution, which 
removed him from the ranks of the magistracy, having de- 
prived him of his chosen calling, he thought it his duty to 
his children to accept the position which had offered itself ; 
but the constant attention to important trifles to which he 
was condemned was wearisome, and he was only punctual 
when he ought to have been assiduous. Afterward, when 
the veil fell from his eyes, and he saw Bonaparte as he really 
was, his generous spirit was roused to indignation, and close 
personal attendance on him became very painful to my hus- 


band. Nothing is so fatal to the promotion of a courtier as 
his being actuated by conscientious scruples which he does 
not conceal. But, at the period of which I am speaking, 
these feelings of ours were still only vague, and I must re- 
peat what I have already said that we believed that the 
Emperor was in some measure indebted to us, and we relied 
on him. 

The time soon came, however, when we lost some of our 
importance. People of rank equal to our own, and soon 
afterward those who were our superiors both in rank and 
fortune, begged to be allowed to form part of the Imperial 
Court ; and thenceforth the Cervices of those who were the 
first to show the way thither decreased in value. Bonaparte 
was highly delighted at his gradual conquest of the French 
nobility, and even Mme. Bonaparte, who was more suscepti- 
ble of affection than he, had her head turned for a time by 
finding real grandes dames among her ladies-in-waiting. 
Wiser and more far-sighted persons than ourselves would 
have been more than ever attentive and assiduous in order to 
keep their footing, which was disputed in every direction by 
a crowd full of their own importance ; but, far from acting 
thus, we gave way to them. We saw in all this an oppor- 
tunity of partially regaining our freedom, and imprudently 
availed ourselves of it ; and when, from any cause whatever, 
one loses ground at Court, it is rarely to be recovered. 

M. de Talleyrand, who was urging Bonaparte to surround 
himself with all the prestige of royalty, advised him to grati- 
fy the vanity and pretension of those whom he wished to 
allure ; and in France the nobility can be satisfied only by 
being placed in the front. Those distinctions to which they 
thought themselves entitled had to be dangled before their 
eyes ; the Montmorencys, the Montesquious, etc., were se- 
cured by the promise that, from the day they cast in their lot 
with Bonaparte, they should resume all their former impor- 
tance. In fact, it could not be otherwise, when the Emperor 
had once resolved on forming a regular Court. 



Some persons have thought that Bonaparte would have 
done more wisely had he retained some of the simplicity and 
austerity in externals which disappeared with the Consulate 
when he adopted the new title of Emperor. A constitutional 
government and a limited Court, displaying no luxury, and 
significant of the change which successive revolutions had 
wrought in people's ideas, might perhaps have been less 
pleasing to the national vanity, but it would have com- 
manded more real respect. At the time of which I am 
speaking, the dignities to be conferred on those persons sur- 
rounding the new sovereign were much discussed. Duroc 
requested M. de Eemusat to give his ideas on the subject in 
writing. He drew up a wise and moderate plan, but which 
was too simple for those secret projects which no one had 
then divined. " There is not sufficient display in it," said 
Bonaparte, as he read it ; " all that would not throw dust in 
people's eyes." His object was to decoy, in order to deceive 
more effectually. 

As he refused to give a free constitution to the French, 
he had to conciliate and fascinate them by every possible 
means ; and, there being always some littleness in pride, 
supreme power was not enough for him he must have the 
appearance of it too ; he must have etiquette, chamberlains, 
and so forth, which he believed would disguise the parvenu. 
He liked display ; he leaned toward a feudal system quite 
alien to the age in which he lived, but which nevertheless he 
intended to establish. It would, however, in all probability, 
have only lasted for the duration of his own reign. 

It would be impossible to record all his notions on this 
subject. The following were some of them : " The French 
Empire," he would say, " will become the mother country of 
the other sovereignties of Europe. I intend that each of the 
kings shall be obliged to build a big palace for his own use 
in Paris ; and that, on the coronation of the Emperor of the 
French, these kings shall come to Paris, and grace by their 
presence that imposing ceremony to which they will render 


homage." What did this project mean, except that he hoped 
to revive the feudal system, and to resuscitate a Charlemagne 
who, for his own advantage only, and to strengthen his own 
power, should avail himself of the despotic notions of a for- 
mer era and also of the experience of modern times ? 

Bonaparte frequently declared that he alone was the whole 
Revolution, and he at length persuaded himself that in his 
own person he preserved all of it which it would not be well 
to destroy. 

A fever of etiquette seemed to have seized on all the inhab- 
itants of the Imperial palace of Saint Cloud. The ponderous 
regulations of Louis XIY. were taken down from the shelves 
in the library, and extracts were commenced from them, 
in order that a code might be drawn up for the use of the 
new Court. Mme. Bonaparte sent for Mine. Campan, who 
had been First Bedchamber Woman to Marie Antoinette. 
She was a clever woman, and kept a school, where, as I have 
already mentioned, nearly all the young girls who appeared 
at Bonaparte's Court had been educated. She was questioned 
in detail as to the manners and customs of the last Queen of 
France, and I was appointed to write everything that she re- 
lated from her dictation. Bonaparte added the very volu- 
minous memoranda which resulted from this to those which 
were brought to him from all sides. M. de Talleyrand was 
consulted about everything. There was a continual coming 
and going ; people were living in a kind of uncertainty which 
had its pleasing side, because every one hoped to rise higher. 
I must candidly confess that we all felt ourselves more or less 
elevated. Vanity is ingenious in its expectations, and ours 
were unlimited. 

Sometimes it was disenchanting, for a moment, to ob- 
serve the almost ridiculous effect that this agitation produced 
upon certain classes of society. Those who had nothing to 
do with our brand-new dignities said with Montaigne, " Verb- 
geons-nous par en medire" Jests more or less witty, and ca- 
lembours more or less ingenious, were lavished on these new- 


made princes, and somewhat disturbed our brilliant visions ; 
but the number of those who dare to censure success is 
small, and flattery was much more common than criticism, at 
any rate in the circle under our observation. 

Such was, then, the position of affairs at the close of the 
era which terminates here. The narrative of the second 
epoch will show what progress we all made (when I say " we 
all," I mean France and Europe) in this course of brilliant 
errors, which was destined to lead to the loss of our liberties 
and the obscuration of our true greatness for a long period. 

In the April of that year Bonaparte made his brother 
Louis a member of the Council of State, and Joseph colonel 
of the 4th Regiment of Infantry. " You must both belong 
to the civil and military service by turns," he said. " You 
must not be strangers to anything that concerns the interests 
of the country." 



The Trial of General Moreau Condemnation of MM. de Polignac, De Riviere, etc. 
Pardon of M. de Polignac A Letter from Louis XVm. 

THE creation of the Empire had turned public attention 
away from the proceedings against Moreau, which were, 
however, going on. The accused had been brought before 
the tribunal several times ; but, the more the case was inves- 
tigated, the less hope there was of the condemnation of 
Moreau, which became day by day an object of greater im- 
portance. I am perfectly convinced that the Emperor would 
not have allowed Moreau's life to be taken. That the Gen- 
eral should be condemned and pardoned would have been 
sufficient for his purpose, which was to refute, by the sen- 
tence of the court, those who accused him of having acted 
with undue haste and personal animosity. 

All who have brought cool observation to bear upon this 
important event are agreed in thinking that Moreau ex- 
hibited weakness and want of judgment. When he was 
brought up for examination, he showed none of the dignity 
that was expected from him. He did not, like Georges Ca- 
doudal, assume the attitude of a determined man, who open- 
ly avowed the lofty designs that had actuated him ; neither 
did he assume that of an innocent man, full of righteous in- 
dignation at an unjust charge. He prevaricated in some of 
his answers, and the interest which he inspired was dimin- 
ished by that fact ; but even then Bonaparte gained nothing 


by this lessening enthusiasm, and not only party spirit, but 
reason itself, censured no less strongly than before a proceed- 
ing which was still attributed to personal enmity. 

At length, on the 30th of May, the formal indictment 
(acte d? accusation) appeared in the " Moniteur." It was ac- 
companied by certain letters written by Moreau in 1795, be- 
fore the 18th Fructidor, which proved that the General, be- 
ing then convinced that Pichegru was corresponding with 
the princes, had denounced him to the Directory. A gen- 
eral and natural question then arose : Why had Moreau acted 
so differently in the case of this second conspiracy, justifying 
himself by the statement that he had not thought it proper 
to reveal the secret of a plot, in which he had refused to en- 
gage, to the First Consul ? 

On the 6th of June the examinations of all the accused 
persons were published. Among these there were some who 
declared positively that the princes, in England, were quite 
confident that they might count upon Moreau ; that it was 
with this hope Pichegru had gone to France, and that the 
two generals had subsequently on several occasions had in- 
terviews with Georges Cadoudal. They even asserted that 
Pichegru had evinced great dissatisfaction after these inter- 
views, had complained that Moreau gave him only half- 
hearted support, and seemed anxious to profit on his own ac- 
count by the blow which was to strike Bonaparte. A person 
named Bolland declared that Moreau had said, " The first 
thing to be done is to get rid of the First Consul." 

Moreau, on being questioned in his turn, answered that 
Pichegru, when he was in England, had conveyed an in- 
quiry to him as to whether he would assist him in case he 
should wish to return to France, and that he had prom- 
ised to help him to carry out that project. It naturally occa- 
sioned no little astonishment tfrat Pichegru, who had been 
denounced some years before by Moreau himself, should 
have applied to him to obtain his " erasure " ; and Pichegru 
had, at the time of his examination, denied that he had done 


so. At the same time, however, he also denied that he had 
seen Moreau, although Moreau acknowledged that they had 
met, and he persisted in declaring that in coming to France 
he had been actuated solely by his aversion to a foreign 
country, and his desire to return to his own. Shortly after- 
ward Pichegru was found strangled in his prison, and the 
circumstances of his death have never been explained, nor 
have any comprehensible motives which could have rendered 
it necessary to himself been assigned.* 

Moreau admitted that he had received Pichegru (who 
took him, he said, by surprise) at his house, but he de- 
clared at the same time that he had positively refused 
to enter into a scheme for the replacement of the house 
of Bourbon on the throne, because such a resolution would 
disturb the settlement of the national property; and he 
added that, so far as his own personal pretensions were con- 
cerned, the notion was absurd, as it would have been neces- 
sary to their success that not only the First Consul, but 
the two other Consuls, the Governors of Paris, and the 
guard, should be got rid of. He declared that he had seen 
Pichegru but once, although others of the accused asserted 

* Here, as in the preceding chapter, the author is not sufficiently precise in 
relating the cause of the death of General Pichegru. The statement that he 
had committed suicide was received at the time with widespread incredulity, and 
the first result of the death of the Due d'Enghien was that the Emperor was 
made to expiate that crime, by having others imputed to him which his most de- 
termined enemies would not have attributed to him previously. It is only com- 
mon justice to Napoleon to record that his accusers have never been able to 
prove that it was for his interest in any way that the accused should not appear 
before his judges. M. Thiers has demonstrated that Pichegru's presence at the 
trial was necessary. The depositions of the accused of all parties were all 
equally condemnatory of him. His legal criminality was certain, and he could 
not fail to be condemned, and to deserve his condemnation. The man who was 
really to be feared was Moreau. It has, indeed, been said that a report made 
by experts established the impossibility of suicide under the circumstances ; i. e., 
the use of a silk handkerchief, from which the body was found hanging. We 
must, however, bear in mind that legal medicine seventy years ago was a merely 
conjectural science, and that recent experience has proved suicide by strangula- 
tion to be easily and rapidly effected. 


that several interviews had taken place between them ; and 
he maintained this line of defense unshaken. He was, how- 
ever, obliged to admit that he had discovered at an advanced 
stage of the affair that Frasnieres, his private secretary, was 
deeply involved with the conspirators. Frasnieres had fled on 
the first alarm. 

Georges Cadoudal answered that his plan was to attack 
the First Consul, and remove him by force ; that he had 
never entertained a doubt of finding in Paris itself a num- 
ber of enemies of the actual regime who would aid him in 
his enterprise ; and that he would have endeavored by every 
means in his power to replace Louis X VIII. upon his throne. 
He steadily denied, however, that he knew either Pichegru 
or Moreau ; and he terminated his replies with these words : 
" You have victims enough ; I do not wish to augment their 

Bonaparte seemed to be impressed by this strength of 
character, and said to us on that occasion, " If it were pos- 
sible that I could save any of these assassins, I should pardon 

The Due de Polignac replied that he had come to France 
secretly, with the sole purpose of ascertaining positively the 
state of public opinion, and what were the chances it af- 
forded ; but that, when he perceived that an assassination 
was in question, he had thought only of getting away again, 
and would have left France if he had not been arrested. 

M. de Kiviere made a similar answer, and M. Jules de 
Polignac declared that he had merely followed his brother. 

On the 10th of June twenty of the accused persons were 
convicted and sentenced to death. At the head of the list 
were Georges Cadoudal and the Marquis de Kiviere. The 
judgment went on to state that Jules de Polignac, Louis 
Meridan, Moreau, and Bolland were guilty of having taken 
part in the said conspiracy, but that it appeared from the 
" instruction " and the investigation that there were circum- 
stances which rendered them excusable, and that the court 


therefore commuted the punishment which they had incurred 
to that of fine and imprisonment. 

I was at Saint Cloud when the news of this finding of the 
court arrived. Every one was dumfounded. The Chief 
Judge had pledged himself to the First Consul that Moreau 
should be condemned to death, and Bonaparte's discomfiture 
was so great that he was incapable of concealing it. It was 
publicly known that, at his first public audience on the Sun- 
day following, he displayed ungoverned anger toward Le- 
courbe (brother to the general of that name), the judge who 
had spoken strongly in favor of Moreau's innocence at the 
trial. He ordered Lecourbe out of his presence, calling him 
a " prevaricating judge " an epithet whose signification no- 
body could guess ; and shortly afterward he deprived him of 
his judgeship. 

I returned to Paris, much troubled by the state of things 
at Saint Cloud, and I found that among a certain party in 
the city the result of the trial was regarded with exultation 
which was nothing short of an insult to the Emperor. The 
nobility were much grieved by the condemnation of the Due 
de Polignac. 

I was with my mother and my husband, and we were de- 
ploring the melancholy results of these proceedings, and the 
numerous executions which were about to take place, when 
I was informed that the Duchesse de Polignac, and her 
aunt, Mme. Daudlau, the daughter of Helvetius, whom I 
had often met in society, had come to visit me. They were 
ushered into the room, both in tears. The Duchess, who 
was in an interesting situation, enlisted my sympathies at 
once ; she came to entreat me to procure an audience of the 
Emperor for her, that she might implore him to pardon her 
husband. She had no means of gaining admission to the 
palace of Saint Cloud, and she hoped I would assist her. 
M. de'Eemusat and my mother were, like myself, fully alive 
to the difficulty of the enterprise, but we all three felt that I 
ought not to allow that difficulty to hinder me from making 


the attempt ; and as we still had some days before us, be- 
cause of the appeal against their sentence which the con- 
demned men had made, I arranged with the two ladies that 
they should go to Saint Cloud on the following day, while I 
was to precede them by a few hours, and induce Mme. Bona- 
parte to receive them. 

Accordingly, the next day I returned to Saint Cloud, and 
I had no difficulty in obtaining a promise from my good 
Empress that she would receive a person in so unhappy a 
position. But she did not conceal from me that she felt 
considerable dread of approaching the Emperor at a moment 
when he was so much displeased. " If," said she, " Moreau 
had been condemned, I should feel more hopeful of our 
success ; but he is in such a rage that I am afraid he will 
turn us away, and be angry with you for what you are going 
to make me do." 

I was too much moved by the tears and the condition of 
Mme. de Polignac to be influenced by such a consideration, 
and I did my best to make the Empress realize the impres- 
sion which these sentences had produced in Paris. I re- 
minded her of the death of the Due d'Enghien, of Bona- 
parte's 'elevation to the imperial throne in the midst of 
sanguinary punishments, and pointed out to her that the 
general alarm would be allayed by one act of clemency 
which might, at least, be quoted side by side with so many 
acts of severity. 

While I was speaking to the Empress with all the warmth 
and earnestness of which I was capable, and with streaming 
tears, the Emperor suddenly entered the room from the 
terrace outside ; this he frequently did of a morning, when 
he would leave his work, and come through the glass door 
into his wife's room for a little talk with her. He instantly 
perceived our agitation, and, although at another moment I 
should have been taken aback at his unlooked-for presence, 
the profound emotion which I felt overcame all other con- 
siderations, and I replied to his questions with a frank 


avowal of what I had ventured to do. The Empress, who 
was closely observing his countenance, seeing the sever.e look 
that overcast it, did not hesitate to come to my aid by tell- 
ing him that she had already consented to receive Mme. de 

The Emperor began by refusing to listen to us, and com- 
plaining that we were putting him in for all the difficulty of 
a position which would give him the appearance of cruelty. 
" I will not see this woman," he said to me. " I can not 
grant a pardon. You do not see that this Royalist party is 
full of young fools, who will begin again with this kind of 
thing, and keep on at it, if they are not kept within bounds 
by a severe lesson. The Bourbons are credulous ; they be- 
lieve the assurances which they get from schemers who de- 
ceive them respecting the real state of the public mind of 
France, 'and they will send a lot of victims over here." 

This answer did not stop me ; I was extremely excited, 
partly by the event itself, and perhaps also by the slight risk 
I was running of displeasing my formidable master. I would 
not be so cowardly in my own eyes as to retreat before any 
personal consideration, and that feeling made me bold and 
tenacious. I insisted so strongly, and entreated with such 
earnestness, that the Emperor, who was walking hurriedly 
about the room while I was speaking, suddenly paused oppo- 
site to me, and, fixing a piercing gaze on me, said : " What 
personal interest do you take in these people ? You are not 
excusable except they are your relatives." 

" Sire," I answered, with all the firmness I could sum- 
mon up, " I do not know them, and until yesterday I had 
never seen Mme. de Polignac." " What ! And you thus 
plead the cause of people who came here to assassinate me ? " 
" No, sire ; I plead the cause of an unfortunate woman who 
is in despair, and I must say it I plead your own cause 
too." And then, quite carried away by my feelings, I re- 
peated all that I had said to the Empress. She was as much 
affected as myself, and warmly seconded all I said. But we 


could obtain nothing from the Emperor at that moment ; he 
went angrily away, telling us not to " worry " him any more. 

A few minutes afterward I was informed that Mme. de 
Polignac had arrived. The Empress received her in a pri- 
vate room, and promised that she would do everything in 
her power to obtain a pardon for the Due de Polignac. Dur- 
ing the course of that morning, certainly one of the most 
agitating I have ever lived through, the Empress went twice 
into her husband's cabinet, and twice had to leave it, repulsed. 
Each time she returned to me, quite disheartened, and I was 
losing hope and beginning to tremble at the prospect of hav- 
ing to take a refusal to Mme. de Polignac as the final answer. 
At length we learned that M. de Talleyrand was with the 
Emperor, and I besought the Empress to make one last at- 
tempt, thinking that, if M. de Talleyrand were a witness to 
it, he would endeavor to persuade Bonaparte. And, in fact, 
he did second the Empress . at once and strongly ; and at 
length Bonaparte, vanquished by their supplications, consent- 
ed to allow Mme. de Polignac to appear before him. This 
was promising everything ; it would have been impossible to 
utter a cruel " No ! " in such a presence. Mme. de Polignac 
was ushered into the cabinet, and fell fainting at the Emper- 
or's feet. The Empress was in tears ; the pardon of the Due 
de Polignac was granted, and an article written by M. de 
Talleyrand gave a charming account of the scene, in what 
was then called the " Journal de 1'Empire," on the following 

M. de Talleyrand, on leaving the Emperor's cabinet, 
found me in the Empress's boudoir, and related to me all 
that had occurred. He made me cry afresh, and he was far 
from being unmoved himself ; but, nevertheless, he also made 
me laugh by his recital of an absurd little circumstance which 
had not escaped his keen perception of the ridiculous. Poor 
Mme. Daudlau, who had accompanied her niece, and wanted 
to produce her own particular little effect, kept on repeating, 
in the midst of her efforts to revive Mme. de Polignac who 


was restored to consciousness with great difficulty " Sire, I 
am the daughter of Helvetius ! " 

The Due de Polignac's sentence was commuted to four 
years' imprisonment, to be followed by banishment. He was 
sent to join his brother, and, after having been confined in a 
fortress, they were removed to a civil prison, whence they 
escaped during the campaign of 1814. The Due de Kovigo 
(Fouche*), who was then Minister of Police, was suspected of 
having connived at their escape, in order to curry favor with 
the party whose approaching triumph he foresaw. 

I have no desire to make more of myself on this occasion 
than I strictly deserve, but I think it will be admitted that 
circumstances so fell out as to permit me to render a very 
substantial service to the Polignac family one of which it 
would seem natural that they should have preserved some 
recollection. Since the return of the King to France, I 
have, however, been taught by experience how effectually 
party spirit, especially among courtiers, effaces all senti- 
ments of which it disapproves, no matter how just they 
may be. 

After the incident which I have just related, I received 
a few visits from Mme. de Polignac, who doubtless held her- 
self bound to so much recognition of me ; but, by degrees, 
as we lived in different circles, we lost sight of each other for 
some years, until the Restoration. At that epoch the Due 
de Polignac, having been sent by the King to Malmaison to 
thank the Empress Josephine in his Majesty's name for her 
zealous efforts to save the life of the Due d'Enghien, took 
advantage of the opportunity to express his own gratitude to 
her at the same time. The Empress informed me of this 
visit, and said that no doubt the Duke would also call on 
me ; and I confess that I expected some polite recognition 
from him. I did not receive any ; and, as it was not accord- 
ing to my notions to endeavor to arouse by any words of 
mine gratitude which could only be valuable by being volun- 
tary, I remained quietly at home, and made no reference to 


an event which the persons concerned in it seemed to wish to 
forget, or at least to ignore. 

One evening chance brought me in contact with Mme. 
de Polignac. It was at a reception at the house of the Due 
d'Orleans, and in the midst of a great crowd. The Palais 
Royal was splendidly decorated, all the French nobility were 
assembled there, and the grands seigneurs and high-born gen- 
tlemen to whom the Restoration at first seemed to mean the 
restoration of their former rights, accosted each other with 
the easy, secure, and satisfied manner so readily resumed with 
success. Amid this brilliant crowd I perceived the Duchesse 
de Polignac. After long years I found her again, restored 
to her rank, receiving all those congratulations which were 
due to her, surrounded by an adulatory crowd. I recalled 
the day on which I first saw her, the state she was then in, 
her tears, her terror, the way in which she came toward me 
when she entered iny room, and almost fell at my feet. I 
was deeply moved by this contrast, and, being only a few 
paces from her, the interest with which she inspired me led 
me to approach her. I addressed her in a tone of voice 
which, no doubt, fully conveyed the really tender feeling of 
the moment, and congratulated her on the very different cir- 
cumstances under which we met again. All I would have 
asked of her was a word of remembrance, which would have 
responded to the emotion I felt on her account. This feeling 
was speedily chilled by the indifference and constraint with 
which she listened to what I said. She either did not recog- 
nize me, or she affected not to do so ; I had to give my name. 
Her embarrassment increased. On perceiving this I imme- 
diately turned away, and with very painful feelings ; for those 
which her presence had caused, and which I had thought at 
first she would share, were rudely dispelled. 

The Empress's goodness in obtaining a remission of the 
capital sentence for M. de Polignac made a great sensation 
in Paris, and gave rise to renewed praise of her kindness of 
heart, which had obtained almost universal recognition. The 


wives, or mothers, or sisters of the other political offenders 
immediately besieged the palace of Saint Cloud, and en- 
deavored to obtain audience of the Empress, hoping to enlist 
her sympathy. Applications were also made to her daughter, 
and they both obtained further pardons or commutations of 
sentence. The Emperor felt that a dark shadow would be 
cast on his accession to the throne by so many executions, 
and showed himself accessible to the petitions addressed to 

His sisters, who were by no means included in the popu- 
larity of the Empress, and were anxious to obtain if possible 
some public favor for themselves, gave the wives of some of 
the condemned men to understand that they might apply to 
them also. They then took the petitioners in their own car- 
riages to Saint Cloud, in a sort of semi-state, to entreat par- 
don for their husbands. These proceedings, as to which the 
Emperor, I believe, had been consulted beforehand, seemed 
less spontaneous than those of the Empress indeed, bore 
signs of prearrangement ; but at any rate they served to save 
the lives of several persons. Murat, who had excited uni- 
versal indignation by his violent behavior and by his hostility 
to Moreau, also tried to regain popularity by similar devices, 
and did in fact obtain a pardon for the Marquis de Riviere. 
On the same occasion he brought a letter from Georges Ca- 
doudal to Bonaparte, which I heard read. It was a manly 
and outspoken letter, such as might be penned by a man 
who, being convinced that the deeds he has done, and which 
have proved his destruction, were dictated by a generous 
sense of duty and an unchangeable resolution, is resigned to 
his fate. Bonaparte was deeply impressed by this letter, and 
again expressed his regret that he could not extend clemency 
to Georges Cadoudal. 

This man, the real head of the conspiracy, died with un- 
shaken courage. Twenty had been condemned to death. 
The capital sentence was, in the cases of seven, commuted to 
a more or less prolonged imprisonment. Their names are as 


follows : the Due de Polignac, the Marquis de Riviere, Rus- 
sillon, Kochelle, D'Hozier, Lajollais, Guillard. The others 
were executed. General Moreau was taken to Bordeaux, 
and put on board a ship for the United States. His family 
sold their property by Imperial command ; the Emperor 
bought a portion of it, and bestowed the estate of Grosbois 
on Marshal Berthier. 

A few days later, the "Moniteur" published a protest 
from Louis XVIII. against the accession of Napoleon. It 
appeared on July 1, 1804, but produced little effect. The 
Cadoudal conspiracy had weakened the faint sentiment -of 
barely surviving allegiance to the old dynasty. The plot 
had, in fact, been so badly conceived ; it seemed to be based 
on such total ignorance of the internal state of France, and 
of the opinions of the various parties in the country ; the 
names and the characters of the conspirators inspired so lit- 
tle confidence ; and, above all, the further disturbances whieh 
must have resulted from any great change, were so univer- 
sally dreaded that, with the exception of a small number of 
gentlemen whose interests would be served by the renewal of 
an abolished state of things, there was in France no regret 
for a result which served to strengthen the newly inaugu- 
rated system. Whether from conviction, or from a longing 
for repose, or from yielding 'to the sway of the great fortunes 
of the new Head of the State, many gave in their adhesion 
to his sovereignty, and from this time forth France assumed 
a peaceful and orderly attitude. The opposing factions be- 
came disheartened, and, as commonly happens when this is 
the case, each individual belonging to them made secret at- 
temps to link his lot to the chances offered by a totally new 
system. Gentle and simple, Royalists and Liberals, all be- 
gan to scheme for advancement. New ambitions and vani- 
ties were aroused, and favors solicited in every direction. 
Bonaparte beheld those on whom he could least have counted 
suing for the honor of serving him. 

Meanwhile he was not in haste to choose from among 


them ; he delayed a long time, in order to feed their hopes 
and to increase the number of aspirants. During this respite, 
I left the Court for a little breathing-time in the country. 
I staid for a month in the valley of Montmorency, with 
Mme. d'Houdetot, of whom I have already spoken. The 
quiet life I led in her house was refreshing after the anxie- 
ties and annoyances which I had recently had to endure 
almost uninterruptedly. I needed this interval of rest ; iny 
health, which since that time has always been more or less 
delicate, was beginning to fail, and my spirits were depressed 
by the new aspect of events, and by discoveries I was slowly 
making about things in general, and about certain great per- 
sonages in particular. The gilded veil which Bonaparte used 
to say hung before the eyes of youth was beginning to lose 
its brightness, and I became aware of the fact with astonish- 
ment, which always causes more or less suffering, until time 
and experience have made us wiser and taught us to take 
things more easily. 




Plans for the Invasion An Article in the "Moniteur" The Great Officers of 
State The Ladies-in- Waiting The Anniversary of July 14th Beauty of the 
Empress Projects of Divorce Preparations for the Coronation. 

BY degrees the flotillas built in our other harbors came 
round to join those of Boulogne. They sometimes met with 
obstacles on the way, for English vessels were always cruis- 
ing about the coast to prevent their junction. The camps at 
Boulogne, at Montreuil, and at Compiegne presented an im- 
posing appearance, and the army became daily more numer- 
ous and more formidable. 

There is no doubt that these preparations for war, and 
the comments which were made upon them in Paris, caused 
some anxiety in Europe; for an article appeared in the 
newspapers which created no great impression at the time, 
but which I considered to be worth preserving, because it 
was an exact forecast of all that has since occurred. It ap- 
peared in the " Moniteur " of July 10, 1804, on the same 
day with an account of the audience given by the Emperor 
to all the ambassadors who had just received fresh creden- 
tials to his Court. Some of the latter contained nattering 
expressions from foreign sovereigns on his accession to the 

This is the article : 

" From time immemorial, the metropolis has been the 
home of hearsay (les on dif). A new rumor springs up every 
day, to be contradicted on the next. Although there has 


been of late more activity, and a certain persistence in these 
reports which gratify idle curiosity, we think it more desira- 
ble to leave them to time, and that wisest of all possible re- 
plies, silence ! Besides, what sensible Frenchman, really in- 
terested in discovering the truth, will fail to recognize in the 
current rumors the offspring of malignity more or less inter- 
ested in their circulation ? 

" In a country where so large a number of men are well 
aware of existing facts, and are able to judge of those which 
do not exist, if any one imagines that current rumors ought 
to cause him real anxiety, if a credulous confidence in them 
influences his commercial enterprises or his personal interests, 
either his error is not a lasting one, or he must lay the blame 
on his own want of reflection. 

" But foreigners, persons attached to diplomatic missions, 
not having the same means of judging, nor the same knowl- 
edge of the country, are often deceived ; and, although for a 
long time past they have had opportunities of observing how 
invariably every event gives the lie to current gossip, they 
nevertheless repeat it in foreign countries, and thus give rise 
to most erroneous notions about France. "We therefore think 
it advisable to say a few words in this journal on the subject 
of political gossip. 

"It is said that the Emperor is about to unite the Italian 
republic, the Ligurian republic, the republic of Lucca, the 
kingdom of Etruria, the Papal States, and, by a necessary 
consequence, Naples and Sicily, under his own rule. It is 
said that the same fate is reserved for Switzerland and Hol- 
land. It is said that, by annexing Hanover, the Emperor 
will be enabled to become a member of the Germanic Con- 

" Many deductions are drawn from these suppositions ; 
and the first we remark is that the Pope will abdicate, and 
that Cardinal Fesch or Cardinal Euffo will be raised to the 
Pontifical Throne. 

" We have already said, and we repeat it, that if the in- 


fiuence of France were to be exerted in any changes affecting 
the Sovereign Pontiff, it would be exerted for the welfare of 
the Holy Father, and to increase the respect due to the Holy 
See and its possessions, rather than to diminish it. 

" As to the kingdom of Naples, Mr. Acton's aggressive 
action and his constantly hostile policy might in former times 
have afforded France a legitimate cause of war, which she 
would never have undertaken with the intention of uniting 
the Two Sicilies to the French Empire. 

" The Italian and Ligurian republics and the kingdom of 
Etruria will not cease to exist as independent States, and it 
is surely very unlikely that the Emperor would disown both 
the duties attached to the authority which he derives from 
the comitia of Lyons, and the personal glory he has acquired 
by twice restoring to independence the States which twice 
he has conquered. 

" We may ask, as regards Switzerland, who prevented its 
annexation to France before the Act of Mediation ? This 
Act, the immediate result of care and thought on the part of 
the Emperor, has restored tranquillity to those peoples, and 
is a guarantee of their independence and security, so long as 
they themselves do not destroy this guarantee by substitut- 
ing the will of one of their constituent corporations, or that 
of a party, for the elements of which it is composed. 

"Had France- desired to annex Holland, Holland would 
now be French, like Belgium. That she is an independent 
power is because France felt with regard to that country, as 
she felt in the case of Switzerland, that the localities required 
an individual existence and a particular kind of organization. 

" A still more absurd supposition is entertained respect- 
ing Hanover. The annexation of that province would be 
the most fatal gift that could be made to France, and no 
lengthened consideration of the matter is needed in order to 
perceive this. Hanover would become a cause of rivalry 
between the French nation and that prince who was the ally 
and friend of France at a time when all Europe was in coa- 


lition against her. In order to retain Hanover, it would be 
necessary to keep up a military force at a cost out of all pro- 
portion to the few millions which constitute the whole of the 
revenues of that country. Will that Government which has 
made sacrifices in order to maintain the principle that a sim- 
ple and continuous frontier-line, even as far as the fortifi- 
cations of Strasbourg and of Mayence on the right bank, is 
necessary, be so shortsighted as to wish for the incorporation 
of Hanover ? 

" But, it is said, the advantage of belonging to the Ger- 
manic Confederation depends on the possession of Hanover. 
The mere title of Emperor of the French is sufficient answer 
to this singular idea. The Germanic Confederation is com- 
posed of kings, electors, and princes, and it recognizes, in re- 
lation to itself, but one imperial dignity. It would be to 
misjudge the noble pride of our country to suppose she 
would ever consent to become an element in any other con- 
federation, even had such a thing been compatible with na- 
tional dignity. What could have prevented France from main- 
taining her rights in the circle of Burgundy, or those which 
conferred on her the possession of the Palatinate ? We may 
even ask, with pardonable pride, who was it that prevented 
France from keeping part of the States of Baden and of the 
Swabian territory ? 

" No, France will never cross the Ehine ! Nor will her 
armies pass over it, unless it become necessary for her to 
protect the German Empire and its princes, who inspire an 
interest in her because of their attachment to her, and their 
value in the balance of power in Europe. 

" If these are simply idle rumors, we have answered them 
sufficiently. If they owe their origin to the anxious jealousy 
of foreign Powers, who are always crying out that France is 
ambitious in order to cloak their own ambition, there is an- 
other answer to be made. Owing to the two coalitions suc- 
cessively entered into against us, and to the treaties of Cam- 
po Formio and Lun6ville, France has no province for her 


neighbor which she could wish to annex ; and, if in the past 
she has displayed an example of moderation unexampled in 
modern history, the result is an advantage for her, inasmuch 
as she need not henceforth take up arms. 

" Her capital is in the center of her Empire ; her fron- 
tiers are bounded by small States which complete her politi- 
cal constitution ; geographically she can desire nothing be- 
longing to her neighbors she is therefore naturally inimical 
to none ; and, as there exists in her respect neither another 
Finland, nor another River Inn, she is in a position which 
no other Power enjoys. 

"As it is with those rumors which try to prove that 
France is inordinately ambitious, so it is with others of a dif- 
ferent nature. 

" Not long ago rebellion was in our camps. Two days 
back thirty thousand Frenchmen had refused to embark at 
Boulogne ; yesterday our legions were at war with each 
other, ten against ten, thirty against thirty, flag against flag. 
Our four Rhenish departments were informed that we were 
about to restore them to their former ruler. To-day, per- 
haps, it is said that the public treasury is empty, that the 
public works have been discontinued, that discord prevails 
everywhere, and that the taxes are unpaid. If the Emperor 
starts for the camps, it will be said, perhaps, that he is hur- 
rying thither to restore peace. In fact, whether he remains 
at Saint Cloud, or goes to the Tuileries, or lives at Malmai- 
son, there will be opportunities for absurd reports. 

"And if these rumors, simultaneously spread about in 
foreign countries, were intended to cause alarm on account 
of the ambition of the Emperor, and at the same time to 
encourage any unbecoming and mistaken acts, by leading 
people to hope that his Government is weak, we can but re- 
peat the words that a Minister was instructed to utter on 
leaving a certain Court : ' The Emperor of the French de- 
sires war with no one, whosoever he may be ; he dreads 
war with no one. He does not meddle with his neigh- 


bors' business, and he has a right to similar treatment. He 
has always manifested a wish for a durable peace, but the 
history of his life does not justify us in thinking that he will 
suffer himself to be insulted or despised.' r 

After a refreshing sojourn in the country, I came back 
once more to the whirl of Court life, where the fever of 
vanity seemed every day to lay stronger hold of us. 

The Emperor now appointed the great officers of the 
household. General Duroc was made Grand Marshal of 
the Palace ; Berthier, Master of the Hunt (Grand Veneivr) ; 
M. de Talleyrand, Grand Chamberlain; Cardinal Fesch,. 
High Almoner; M. de Caulaincourt, Grand Equerry; and 
M. de Segur, Grand Master of the Ceremonies. M. de 
Kemusat received the title of First Chamberlain. He 
ranked immediately next to M. de Talleyrand, who would 
be chiefly occupied by foreign affairs, and was to depnte my 
husband to do the greater part of his duties. The matter 
was thus arranged at first ; but soon after the Emperor ap- 
pointed Chamberlains in Ordinary. Among them were the 
Baron de Talleyrand (a nephew of the Grand Chamberlain), 
some senators, some Belgian gentlemen of high birth, and, a 
little later, some French gentlemen also. 

With these began little emulations as to precedence, and 
discontent on account of distinctions which were withheld 
from them. M. de Kemusat found himself exposed to con- 
tinual envy, and as it were at war with these personages. I 
am now ashamed when I recall the annoyance which all this 
caused me ; but whatever the Court in which one lives and 
ours had become a very real one it is impossible not to 
attach importance to the trifles of which it is composed. 
An honorable and sensible man is often ashamed in his own 
eyes of the pleasure or annoyance which he experiences in 
the profession of a courtier, and yet he can scarcely avoid 
either the one or the other. A ribbon, a slight difference in 
dress, permission to pass through a particular door, the 
entree to such or such a salon these are the pitiful causes 


of a constantly recurring vexation. In vain do we try to 
harden ourselves against them. The importance in which 
they are held by a great number of persons obliges us, in 
spite of ourselves, to prize them. In vain do sense and rea- 
son rebel against such a use of human faculties ; however 
dissatisfied we may feel with ourselves, we must needs be- 
come as small-minded as everybody, else, and either fly the 
Court altogether, or consent to take seriously all the follies 
that fill the very air we breathe. 

The Emperor added to the difficulties inseparable from 
the regulations of a palace those of his own temper. He 
enforced etiquette with the strictness of martial law. Cere- 
monies were gone through as though by beat of drum; 
everything was done at double-quick time; and the per- 
petual hurry, the constant fear that Bonaparte inspired, 
added to the unf amiliarity of a good half of his courtiers 
with formalities of the kind, rendered the Court dull rather 
than dignified. Every countenance wore an expression of 
uneasiness and solicitude in the midst of all the magnificence 
with which his ostentatious tastes led the Emperor to sur- 
round himself. 

Mme. de la Eochefoucauld, who was the Empress's 
cousin, was appointed her Lady of Honor, and Mme. de la 
Fayette Lady of the Bedchamber. Twelve Ladies-in-Wait- 
ing were nominated, and by degrees the number of these 
was augmented. Many great ladies from different parts of 
the country were included in the list, persons who were 
much surprised at finding themselves in each other's society. 
Without entering into any details here, which would now 
serve no good purpose, I may mention that applications 
were then made by persons who now affect a strict royalism, 
hardly compatible with the opinions they then professed. 
It ought to be frankly admitted that all classes wanted to 
have their share of these new creations, and I could point 
to several persons who, after having blamed me because I 
came to the First Consul's Court in consequence of an old 


friendship, spared no efforts on their own part to obtain 
places at that of the Emperor, from ambitious motives. 

As for the Empress, she was delighted to find herself 
surrounded by a numerous suite, and one so gratifying to 
her vanity. The victory she had won over Mme. de la 
Rochefoucauld by attaching her to her person, the pleasure 
of reckoning M. d'Aubusson de la Feuillade among her 
Chamberlains, Mme. d'Arberg de Segur and the Mare*chales 
among her Ladies-in-Waiting, intoxicated her a little ; but I 
must admit that this essentially feminine feeling deprived 
her of none of her accustomed grace and kindliness. The 
Empress always knew perfectly well how to preserve the 
supremacy of her own rank, while showing polite deference 
toward those men or women who added to the splendor of 
her Court by their personal distinction. 

At this time the " Ministry of General Police " was re- 
constructed, and Fouche was once more placed at its head. 

The 18th Brumaire was the date at first fixed for the 
coronation, and in the mean time, to show that the revolu- 
tionary epochs were not to be disregarded, the Emperor re- 
paired in great pomp to the Invalides on the 14th of July, 
and, after having heard mass, distributed the Cross of the 
Legion of Honor to a number of persons selected from all 
classes comprised in the Government, the army, and the 
Court. I must not omit to record that on this occasion the 
Empress looked young and lovely among all the youthful 
and handsome women by whom she was surrounded for the 
first time in public. Her costume was admirably selected 
and in perfect taste. The ceremony took place under burn- 
ing sunshine. She appeared in broad daylight, attired in a 
robe of rose-colored tulle, spangled with silver stars, and cut 
very low, according to the fashion of the day. Her head- 
dress consisted of a great number of diamond wheat-ears. 
This brilliant attire, the elegance of her bearing, the charm 
of her smile, the sweetness of her countenance, produced 
such an effect, that I heard many persons who were present 


at the ceremony say that the Empress outshone all the ladies 
of her suite. 

A few days afterward the Emperor set out for the camp 
at Boulogne, and, if public rumor was to be believed, the 
English began to feel really alarmed at the prospect of an 

He passed more than a month in inspecting the coasts 
and reviewing the troops in the various camps. The army 
was at that time numerous, flourishing, and animated by the 
best spirit. He was present at several engagements between 
the vessels which were blockading us and our flotillas, which 
by this time had a formidable aspect. 

While engaged in these military occupations, he fixed, 
by several decrees, the precedence and the rank of the va- 
rious authorities which he had created ; for his mind em- 
braced every topic at once. He had already formed a pri- 
vate intention of asking the Pope to crown him, and, in 
order to carry this out, he neglected neither that address by 
which he might amicably carry his point, nor certain mea- 
sures by which he might be able to render a refusal exceed- 
ingly difficult. He sent the Cross of the Legion of Honor to 
Cardinal Caprara, the Pope's legate, and accompanied the 
distinction by words equally flattering to the Sovereign Pon- 
tiff and promising for the reestablishment of religion. These 
fine phrases appeared in the "Moniteur." Nevertheless, 
when he communicated his project of confirming his eleva- 
tion by so solemn a religious ceremony to the Council of 
State, he had to encounter determined opposition from cer- 
tain of his councilors. Treilhard, among others, resisted the 
proposal strongly. The Emperor allowed him to speak, and 
then replied : " You do not know the ground we are standing 
on so well as I know it. Let me tell you that religion has 
lost much less of its power than you think. You do not 
know all that I effect by means of the priests whom I have 
gained over. There are thirty departments in France suffi- 
ciently religious to make me very glad that I am not obliged 


to dispute with the Pope for power in them. It is only by 
committing every other authority in succession to mine that 
I shall secure my own, that is to say, the authority of the 
Revolution, which we all wish to consolidate." 

While the Emperor was inspecting the ports, the Em- 
press went to Aix-la-Chapelle % to drink the waters. She was 
accompanied by some of her new household, and M. de 
Remusat was ordered to follow her, and to await the Em- 
peror, who was to rejoin her at Aix. I was glad of this res- 
pite. I could not disguise from myself that so many new- 
comers were effacing by degrees her first estimate of my 
value to her, which had owed much to the non-existence of 
comparisons ; and, although I was yet young in experience 
of the world, I felt that a short absence would be useful, and 
that I should afterward take, if not the first place, that of 
my choice, and hold it throughout securely. 

Mme. de la Rochefoucauld, who attended the Empress, 
was then a woman of between thirty-six and forty years old, 
short and ill-made, with a striking countenance, but only 
ordinary abilities. SJie had a great deal of assurance, like 
most plain women who have had some success notwithstand- 
ing their defects. She was very lively, and not at all ill-na- 
tured. She proclaimed her adherence to all the opinions of 
those who were called " aristocrats " by the Revolution ; and, 
as she would have been puzzled to reconcile those views with 
her present position, she made up her mind to laugh at them, 
and would jest about herself with the utmost good humor. 
The Emperor liked her because she was quick, frivolous, and 
incapable of scheming. Indeed, no Court in which women 
were so numerous ever offered less opportunity for any kind 
of intrigue. Affairs of state were absolutely confined to the 
cabinet of the Emperor only ; we were ignorant of them, 
and we knew that nobody could meddle with them. The 
few persons in whom the Emperor confided were wholly 
devoted to the execution of his will, and absolutely unap- 
proachable. Duroc, Savary, and Maret never allowed an un- 


necessary word to escape them, confining themselves strictly 
to communicating to us without delay such orders as they 
received. We were in their sight and in our own mere 
machines, simply and solely doing those things which we 
were ordered to do, and of about as much importance as 
the elegant articles of new furniture with which the pal- 
aces of the Tuileries and Saint Cloud were now profusely 

I remarked at this time, with some amusement, that, as 
by degrees the grands seigneurs of former days came to 
Court, they all experienced, no matter how widely their 
characters differed, a certain sense of disappointment curious 
to observe. When at first they once more breathed the air of 
palaces, found themselves again among their former associates 
and in the atmosphere of their youth, beheld anew decora- 
tions, throne-rooms, and Court costumes, and heard the forms 
of speech habitual in royal dwellings, they yielded to the 
delightful illusion. They fondly believed that they might 
conduct themselves as they had been accustomed to do in those 
same palaces, where all but the master remained unchanged. 
But a harsh word, a peremptory order, the pressure of an 
arbitrary will, soon reminded them roughly that everything 
was new in this unique Court. Then it was strange to see 
how, despite all their efforts, they lost their presence of mind, 
feeling the ground uncertain under their feet, and became 
constrained and uneasy in all their futile little ways. They 
were too vain or too weak to substitute a grave bearing, un- 
like the manners of their past, for their former customs, and 
they did not know what course to adopt. The arts of the 
courtier availed nothing with Bonaparte, arid so profited them 
not at all. It was not safe to remain a man in his presence 
that is to say, to preserve the use of one's intellectual facul- 
ties ; it was easier and quicker for everybody, or nearly every- 
body, to assume the attitude of servility. If I chose, I could 
tell exactly the individuals to whom such a course came most 
readily ; but, if I were to go more at length into this subject, 


I should give my Memoirs the color of a satire, which is 
neither acccording to niy taste nor my intention. 

While the Emperor was at Boulogne, he sent his brother 
Joseph to Paris, where all the governing bodies presented 
addresses to him and his wife. Thus, he assigned each per- 
son his own place, and dictated supremacy to some and ser- 
vitude to others. On the 3d of September he rejoined his 
wife at Aix-la-Chapelle, and remained there some days, hold- 
ing a brilliant Court and receiving the German Princes. 
During this sojourn, M. de Eemusat was directed to send to 
Paris for the company of the second theatre, then managed 
by Picard, and several fetes were given to the Electors, which, 
although they did not approach the magnificence of later oc- 
casions, were very splendid. The Elector Arch-Chancellor 
of the German Empire and the Elector of Baden paid assidu- 
ous court to our sovereigns. The Emperor and Empress 
visited Cologne, and ascended the Rhine as far as Mayence, 
where they were met by a crowd of princes and distinguished 
foreigners. This excursion lasted until the month of October. 

On the 14th Mme. Louis Bonaparte gave birth to a sec- 
ond son.* Bonaparte arrived in Paris a few days later. This 
event was a great source of happiness to the Empress. She 
believed that it would have a most favorable effect upon her 
future, and yet at that very moment a new plot was being 
formed against her, which she only succeeded in defeating 
after much effort and mental suffering. 

Ever since we had learned that the Pope would come to 
Paris for the coronation of the Emperor, the Bonaparte fam- 
ily had been exceedingly anxious to prevent Mme. Bonaparte 
from having a personal share in the ceremony. The jealousy 
of our Princesses was strongly excited on this point. It 
seemed to them that such an honor would place too great a 

* The second son of Queen Hortense was Napoleon Louis. This Prince died 
suddenly during the insurrection of the Pontifical States against the Pope, in 
which he took part. The third son of the Queen, Napoleon III., was born on the 
20th of April, 1808. 


distance between themselves and their sister-in-law, and, be- 
sides, dislike needs no motive of interest personal to itself to 
make anything which is a gratification to its object distaste- 
ful. The Empress ardently longed for her coronation, which 
she believed would establish her rank and her security, and 
the silence of her husband alarmed her. He appeared to be 
hesitating, and Joseph spared no argument to induce him to 
make his wife merely a witness of the ceremony. He even 
went so far as to revive the question of the divorce, advising 
Bonaparte to profit by the approaching event to decide upon 
it. He pointed out the advantage of an alliance with some 
foreign princess, or at least with the heiress of a great name 
in France, and cleverly held out the hope that such a mar- 
riage would give him of having a direct heir ; and he spoke 
with all the more chance of being listened to, because he 
insisted strongly on the personal disinterestedness of advice 
which, if taken, might remove himself from all chance of 
the succession. The Emperor, incessantly harassed by his 
family, appeared to be impressed by his brother's arguments, 
and a few words which escaped him threw his wife into ex- 
treme distress. Her former habit of confiding all her trou- 
bles to me now led her to restore me to her confidence. I 
was exceedingly puzzled how to advise her, and not a little 
afraid of committing myself in so serious a matter. An un- 
expected incident was near bringing about the very thing 
which we dreaded. 

For some time Mine. Bonaparte had perceived an increase 
of intimacy between her husband and Mme. de . In 
vain did I entreat her not to furnish the Emperor with a 
pretext for a quarrel, which would be made use of against 
her. She was too full of her grievance to be prudent, and, 
in spite of my warning, she watched for an opportunity of 
confirming her suspicions. At Saint Cloud the Emperor 
occupied the apartment which opens upon the garden, and is 
on the same level. Above this apartment was a small suite 
of rooms communicating with his own by a back staircase, 


which he had recently had furnished, and the Empress 
strongly suspected the purpose of this mysterious retreat. 
One morning, when there were several persons in her draw- 
ing-room, the Empress, seeing Mme. de (who was then 

resident at Saint Cloud) leave the room, suddenly rose a few 
minutes afterward, and, taking me apart into a window, said : 
" I am going to clear up my doubts this very moment ; stay 
here with all these people, and, if you are asked where I 
have gone, say that the Emperor sent for me." I tried to 
restrain her, but she was quite ungovernable, and would not 
listen to me. She went out at the same moment, and I re- 
mained, excessively apprehensive of what might be going to 
happen. In about half an hour the Empress reentered the 
room by the opposite door. She seemed exceedingly agi- 
tated, and almost unable to control herself, but took her seat 
before an embroidery frame. I remained at a distance from 
her, apparently occupied by my needlework, and avoiding 
her eye ; but I could easily perceive her agitation by the ab- 
ruptness of all her movements, which were generally slow 
and soft. At last, as she was incapable of keeping silence 
under strong emotion of any kind, she could no longer endure 
this constraint, and, calling to me in a loud voice, she bade me 
follow her. When we had reached her bedroom, she said : 
"All is lost. It is but too true. I went to look for the 
Emperor in his cabinet, and he was not there ; then I went 
up the back stairs into the upper room. I found the door 
shut, but I could hear Bonaparte's voice, and also that of 

Mme. de . I knocked loudly at the door, and called out 

that I was there. You may imagine the start I gave them. 
It was some time before the door was opened, and when at 
last I was admitted, though I know I ought to have been 
able to control myself, it was impossible, and I reproached 

them bitterly. Mme. de began to cry, and Bonaparte 

flew into so violent a passion that I had hardly time to fly 
before him and escape his rage. I am still trembling at the 
thought of it ; I did not know to what excess his anger might 


have gone. JSTo doubt he will soon come here, and I may 
expect a terrible scene." The emotion of the Empress moved 
me deeply. " Do not," said I, " commit a second fault, for 
the Emperor will never forgive you for having admitted any 
one, no matter whom, to your confidence. Let me leave you, 
Madame. You must wait for him ; let him find you alone." 
I returned at once to the drawing-room, where I found 
Mme. de . She glanced at me nervously ; she was ex- 
tremely pale, talked almost incoherently, and tried hard to 
find out whether I knew what had passed. I resumed my 

work as tranquilly as I could, but I think Mme. de , 

having seen me leave the room, must have known that the 
Empress had told me. Every one was looking at every one 
else, and nobody could make out what was happening. 

A few minutes afterward we heard a great noise in the 
apartment of the Empress, and of course I knew that the 
Emperor was there, and that a violent quarrel was taking 

place. Mme. de called for her carriage, and at once 

left for Paris. This sudden departure was not likely to mend 
matters. I was to go to Paris in the evening. Before I left 
Saint Cloud the Empress sent for me, and told me, with 
many tears, that Bonaparte, after having insulted her in 
every possible way, and smashed some of the furniture in his 
rage, had signified to her that she was at once to quit Saint 
Cloud. He declared that, weary of her jealous spying, he 
was determined to shake off such a yoke, and to listen hence- 
forth only to the counsels of his policy, which demanded that 
he should take a wife capable of giving him children. She 
added that he had sent orders to Eugene de Beauharnais to 
come to Saint Cloud in order to make arrangements for the 
departure of his mother, and she added that she was now lost 
beyond redemption. She then directed me to go and see 
her daughter in Paris on the following day, and to inform 
her exactly of all that had occurred. 

Accordingly, I went to Mme. Louis Bonaparte. She had 
just seen her brother, who had come from Saint Cloud. The 


Emperor had signified to him his resolution to divorce his 
wife, and Eugene had received the communication with his 
accustomed submission, but refused all the personal favors 
which were offered to him as a consolation, declaring that 
from the moment such a misfortune should fall upon his 
mother he would accept nothing, but that he would follow 
her to any retreat which might be assigned to her, were it 
even at Martinique, as he was resolved to sacrifice all to her 
great need of comfort. Bonaparte had appeared to be deeply 
impressed by this generous resolution ; he had listened to all 
that Eugene said in unbroken silence. 

I found Mme. Louis less affected by this event than I 
expected. " I can not interfere in any way," she said. " My 
husband has positively forbidden me to do so. My mother 
has been very imprudent. She is about to forfeit a crown, 
but, at any rate, she will have peace. Ah ! believe me, there 
are women more unhappy than she." She spoke with such 
profound sadness that I could not fail to read her thoughts ; 
but, as she never allowed a word to be said about her own 
personal position, I did not venture to reply in such a. way as 
would make it evident that I had understood her. " And, 
besides," said she in conclusion, " if there be any chance at all 
of setting this matter right, it is the influence of my mother's 
tears and her gentleness over Bonaparte. Believe me, it is 
better to leave them to themselves not to interfere at all 
between them ^ and I strongly advise you not to return to 
Saint Cloud, especially as Mme. N - has mentioned you, 
and believes that you would give hostile advice." 

I remained away from Saint Cloud for two days, in ac- 
cordance with the advice of Mme. Louis Bonaparte ; but on 
the third I rejoined my Empress, concerning whom I felt 
the deepest solicitude. I found her relieved from one press- 
ing trouble. Her submission and her tears had, in fact, dis- 
armed Bonaparte ; his anger and its cause were no longer in 
question. A tender reconciliation had taken place between 
them ; but, immediately afterward, the Emperor had thrown 


his wife into fresh agitation by letting her see that he was 
seriously entertaining the idea of a divorce. " I have not 
the courage," he said to her, " to come to a final resolution ; 
and if you let me see that you are too deeply afflicted if 
you can render me obedience only I feel that I shall never 
have the strength to oblige you to leave me. I tell you 
plainly, however, that it is my earnest desire that you should 
resign yourself to the interests of my policy, and yourself 
spare me all the difficulties of this painful separation." The 
Empress told me that he wept bitterly while uttering these 
terrible words. I remember well how, as I listened to her, 
I conceived in my mind the plan of a great and generous 
sacrifice which she might make to France. 

Believing, as I then believed, that the fate of the nation 
was irrevocably united with that of Napoleon, I thought 
there would be true greatness of soul in devoting one's self 
to all that might secure and confirm that destiny. I thought, 
had I been the woman to whom such a representation had 
been made, that I should have had courage to abandon the 
brilliant position which, after all, was grudged to me, and 
retire into a peaceful solitude, satisfied with the sacrifice that 
I had made. But, when I saw in Mme. Bonaparte's face 
what suffering the Emperor's words had caused her, I re- 
membered that my mother had once said that advice to be 
useful must be adapted to the character of the person to 
whom it is offered, and I refrained from uttering the lofty 
sentiments of which my mind was full. I bethought me in 
time of the dread with which the Empress would contem- 
plate retirement, of her taste for luxury and display, and of 
the devouring ennui to which she would inevitably fall a 
prey when she had broken with the world ; and I confined 
myself to saying that I saw only two alternatives for her. 
The first of these was to sacrifice herself bravely and with 
dignity ; in which case she ought to go to Malmaison on the 
following morning, and thence to write to the Emperor, de- 
claring that she restored his freedom to him ; or to remain 


where she was, acknowledging herself to be unable to decide 
upon her own fate, and, though always ready to obey, posi- 
tively determined to await his direct orders before she should 
descend from the throne on which he had placed her. 

She adopted the second alternative. Assuming the atti- 
tude of a resigned and submissive victim, she excited the 
jealous anger of all the Bonapartes by her gentle demeanor. 
Yielding, sad, considerate of everybody, entirely obedient, 
but also skillful in availing herself of her ascendancy over 
her husband, she reduced him to a condition of agitation and 
indecision from which he could not escape. 

At length, one memorable evening, after long hesitation, 
during which the Empress suffered mortal anguish and sus- 
pense, the Emperor told her that the Pope was about to 
arrive in Paris, that he would crown them both, and that she 
had better at once begin to prepare for the great ceremony. 
It is easy to picture to one's fancy the joy with which such 
a termination to all her misery filled the heart of the Em- 
press, and also the discomfiture of the Bonapartes, especially 
Joseph ; for the Emperor had not failed to acquaint his wife, 
according to his usual custom, with the attempts that had 
been made to induce him to decide on a divorce, and it is 
only reasonable to suppose that these revelations increased 
the ill feeling already existing on both sides. 

On this occasion the Empress confided to me the ardent 
desire she had long felt to have her marriage, 'which had 
been civilly contracted, confirmed by a religious ceremony. 
She said that she had sometimes spoken of this to the Em- 
peror, and that, although he had not evinced any repugnance, 
he had objected that, even if a priest were brought into the 
palace to perform the religious rite, it could not be done 
with sufficient secrecy to conceal the fact that until then they 
had not been married according to the Church. Either that 
was his real reason, or he wanted to hold this means of break- 
ing his marriage in reserve for future use, should he consider 
it really advisable to do so ; at any rate, he had rejected his 


wife's pleading firmly, but mildly. She therefore deter- 
mined to await the arrival of the Pope, being persuaded, 
very reasonably, that his Holiness would espouse her inter- 
ests on such a point. 

The entire Court was now occupied in, preparations for 
the ceremony of the coronation. The Empress was continu- 
ally surrounded by all the best artists in millinery in Paris, 
and the venders of the most fashionable wares. With their 
assistance she decided on the new form of Court dress, and 
on her own costume. As may be supposed, there was no 
thought of resuming the hoop worn under the old regime; 
it was merely proposed that to our ordinary garments the 
long mantle (which was still worn after the return of the 
King) should be added, and also a very becoming ruff of 
blonde, which was attached to the shoulders and came high 
up at the back of the head, as we see it in portraits of Cath- 
arine de' Medici. The use of this ruff was afterward dis- 
continued, although it was, in my opinion, very pretty, and 
lent dignity and grace to the whole costume. The Empress 
already possessed diamonds of considerable value, but the 
Emperor not only made costly additions to her jewel-case, 
but also placed the diamonds belonging to the national trea- 
sury in her hands, and desired that she should wear them on 
the great day. A diadem of brilliants, above which the 
Emperor was with his own hands to place the closed crown 
upon her head, was made for her, and the ceremony was pri- 
vately rehearsed. David, who afterward painted the great 
picture of the coronation of the Emperor and Empress, at- 
tended these rehearsals, and arranged the positions of each. 
The coronation of the Emperor had been eagerly discussed. 
The first idea was that the Pope should place the diadem 
upon the head of the Emperor ; but Bonaparte refused to 
receive the crown from any hand but his own, and uttered 
on that occasion the sentence which Mme. de Stael has 
quoted in her work : " I found the crown of France upon 
the ground, and I picked it up." 


At length, after a great deal of discussion, it was ar- 
ranged that the Emperor was to crown himself, and that the 
Pope should only give his benediction. Everything was 
done to make the fetes brilliant and popular, and people be- 
gan to flock into Paris. Considerable bodies of troops were 
ordered up to the capital ; all the chief authorities of the 
provinces were invited ; the Arch-Chancellor of the German 
Empire and a great number of foreigners arrived. Party 
spirit slumbered for the time being, and the whole city gave 
itself up to the excitement and curiosity of so novel an inci- 
dent, and a spectacle which would doubtless be magnificent. 
The shopkeepers drove a thriving trade; workmen of all 
kinds were employed, and rejoiced in the occasion that pro- 
cured them such a stroke of luck ; the population of the city 
seemed to be doubled ; commerce, public establishments, and 
theatres all profited by the occasion, and all was bustle and 

The poets were requested to celebrate this great event. 
Ch6nier was ordered to compose a tragedy for the perpetual 
commemoration of it, and he took Cyrus for his hero. The 
Opera was to give splendid ballets. To us dwellers in the 
palace money was given for our expenses, and the Empress 
presented each of her Ladies-in-Waiting with handsome dia- 
mond ornaments. The Court dress of the gentlemen about 
the Emperor was also regulated. This becoming costume 
consisted of the French coat, in different colors for those 
who belonged to the department of the Grand Marshal, the 
Grand Chamberlain, and the Grand Equerry respectively; 
silver embroidery for all ; a cloak of velvet lined with satin, 
worn over one shoulder; a sash, a lace cravat, and a hat 
turned up in front, with a white plume. The Princes were 
to wear white coats embroidered in gold ; the Emperor was 
to wear a long robe somewhat resembling that worn by our 
kings, a mantle of purple velvet sewn with golden bees, and 
his crown, a golden wreath of laurels like that of the Caesars. 

It seems like a dream, or a story from the "Arabian 


Nights," when I recall the luxury that was displayed at that 
period, the perpetual disputes about precedence, the claims 
of rank, and all the demands made by everybody. The 
Emperor directed that the Princesses should carry the Em- 
press's mantle ; there was the greatest difficulty in inducing 
them to consent to do this ; and I remember well that, when 
at last they did consent, they performed their office with so 
ill a grace that the Empress, overpowered by the weight of 
her magnificent robe, could hardly walk, .for they would 
scarcely lift the folds off the ground. They obtained per- 
mission to have their own trains borne by their respective 
chamberlains, and this distinction somewhat consoled them 
for the obligation that was imposed upon them.* 

In the mean time we learned that the Pope had left 
Kome on the 2d of November. The slowness of his jour- 
ney and the vast scale of the preparations rendered it neces- 
sary to put off the coronation until the 2d of December ; 
and on the 24th of November the Court went to Fontaine- 
bleau to receive his Holiness, who arrived there on the fol- 
lowing day. 

Before I close this chapter, I wish to mention a circum- 
stance which ought, it seems to me, to be recorded. The 
Emperor had for the moment relinquished the idea of a 
divorce, but, being still extremely anxious to have an heir, he 
asked his wife whether she would consent to acknowledge a 
child of his as her own, and to feign pregnancy, so that every 

* The Memoirs of Count Miot de Melito contain some curious particulars of 
Court life during the Consulate and the Empire ; the quarrels of Bonaparte with 
his brothers on account of the succession to the throne, and the adoption of the 
son of Louis Bonaparte. He also narrates in detail the disputes about prece- 
dence, and the vexed question of the Empress's mantle. It was after a long 
discussion between the Arch-Chancellor, the Arch-Treasurer, the Minister of the 
Interior, the Grand Equerry, and the Grand Marshal of the Court, the Princes 
Louis and Joseph, and the Emperor himself, that a decision was arrived at 
which deprived those Princes of the large mantle of ermine " an attribute," as 
it was called, "of sovereignty" ; and that it was resolved the words "to hold 
up the mantle " should be used in the proces-verbal instead of " to carry the 
train." (" MSmoires du Comte Miot de Melito," vol. ii., p. 323, et seq.)P. R. 


one should be deceived. She consented to accede to any 
wish of his on this point. Then Bonaparte sent for Corvisart, 
his chief physician, in whom he had well-merited confidence, 
and confided his plan to him. " If I succeed," said he, " in 
making sure of the birth of a boy who shall be my own son, 
I want you, as a witness of the pretended confinement of the 
Empress, to do all that would be necessary to give the device 
every appearance of reality." Corvisart, who felt that his 
honor and probity were injured by the mere proposition, 
refused to do what the Emperor required of him, but prom- 
ised inviolable secrecy. It was not until long afterward, and 
since Bonaparte's second marriage, that he confided this fact 
to me, while at the same time he afiinned in the strongest 
terms the legitimate birth of the King of Home, concerning 
which some entirely unfounded doubts had been raised. 


The Pope's Arrival in Paris The Plebiscitum The Marriage of the Empress 
Josephine The Coronation Fetes in the Champ de Mars, at the Ope'ra, etc. 
The Court of the Empress. 

THE Pope was probably induced to come to France solely 
by the representations which were made to him of advan- 
tages and concessions to be gained by such a gracious act. 
He arrived at Fontainebleau with the intention of lending 
himself to all that might be required of him, within legiti- 
mate bounds ; and, notwithstanding the superiority on which 
the conqueror who had forced him to take this unheard-of 
step plumed himself, and the small respect in which the 
Court held a sovereign who did not reckon the sword among 
the insignia of his royalty, he impressed everybody by his 
dignity and the gravity of his bearing. 

The Emperor went to meet him at a few leagues' distance 
from the chateau, and, when the carriages met, he alighted, 
as did his Holiness also. The Pope and the Emperor em- 
braced, and then got into the same carriage, the Emperor 
entering first, in order, as the "Moniteur" of the day ex- 
plained, to give the Pope the right-hand seat, and so they 
came to the palace. 

The Pope arrived on Sunday,* at noon; and having 
rested for a while in his own apartment, to which he was 
conducted by the Grand Chamberlain (i. e., M. de Talley- 
rand), the Grand Marshal, and the Grand Master of Cere- 
monies, he visited the Emperor, who met him outside the 

* November 25, 1804, or 4th Frimaire, year 13. P. R. 


door of his cabinet, and, after an interview of half an 
hour's duration, reconducted him to the great hall, which 
was then called " The Hall of the Great Officers." The 
Empress had received instructions to place the Pope at her 
right hand. 

After these visits, Prince Louis, the Ministers, the Arch- 
Chancellor, the Arch-Treasurer, Cardinal Fesch, and the 
great officers then at Fontainebleau, were presented to the 
Pope, who received them all most graciously. He afterward 
dined with the Emperor and retired early. 

The Pope was at this time sixty-two years of age, tall and 
upright of figure, and with a handsome, grave, benevolent 
face. He was attended by a numerous suite of Italian priests 
anything but impressive personages, whose rough, noisy, 
and vulgar manners contrasted strangely with the grave good 
breeding of the French clergy. The Palace of Fontainebleau 
presented a strange spectacle just then, inhabited as it was 
by so extraordinary a medley of persons sovereigns, princes, 
military officers, priests, women, all gathered together in the 
different salons at the prescribed hours. On the day after 
his arrival, his Holiness -received all those persons belonging 
to the Court who desired that honor, in his own apartment. 
We had the privilege of kissing his hand and receiving his 
blessing. His presence in such a place, and on so great an 
occasion, affected me very deeply. 

After these receptions, visits were again interchanged be- 
tween the sovereigns. On the occasion of her second inter- 
view with the Pope, the Empress carried out the intention 
she had secretly formed, and confided to him that her mar- 
riage had been a civil ceremony only. His Holiness, after 
having commended her for the good use she made of her 
power, and addressing her as " My daughter," promised her 
that he would require of the Emperor that his coronation 
should be preceded by the ceremony necessary to legiti- 
mize his marriage with her ; and, in fact, the Emperor was 
obliged to consent to this. On their return to Paris Cardinal 


Fesch married Bonaparte to Josephine, as I shall presently 

On the Monday evening a concert was to take place in 
the apartments of the Empress. The Pope, however, declined 
to be present, and retired just as the entertainment was about 
to begin. 

At this time the Emperor took a fancy to Mme. de 

X , and whether it was that his budding passion had 

inspired him with a wish to please, or that his satisfaction at 
the success of his plans kept him in good humor, I can not 
say ; certain it is, however, that while we were at Fontaine- 
bleau he was more affable and approachable than usual. Af- 
ter the Pope had retired, the Emperor remained in the Em- 
press's drawing-room, and talked, not with the men, but, by 
preference, with the women who were there. His wife, 
keen of perception where anything which aroused her jeal- 
ousy was in question, was struck by this departure from his 
ordinary habits, and suspected that some new fancy was the 
cause of it. She could not, however, discover the real ob- 
ject of his thoughts, because he very adroitly paid marked 

attention to each of us in succession ; and Mme. de X , 

who as yet conducted herself with great reserve, did not seem 
to perceive that she was the particular object of the general 
gallantries that the Emperor affected to distribute among us. 
Some of those present believed that the Marechale "Ney was 
about to receive his homage. The Marechale is the daughter 
of M. Augue, formerly Keceiver-General of Finance, and her 
mother was one of the Bedchamber Women to Queen Marie 
Antoinette. She was educated by her aunt, Mme. Campan, 
and when in her establishment became the friend and com- 
panion of Hortense de Beauharnais, now the Princess Louis. 
She was at this time about twenty-two or twenty-three years 
old, and rather pretty, but too thin. She knew very little of 
the world, was excessively shy, and had not the slightest de- 
sire to attract the Emperor, whom she regarded with extreme 


During our sojourn at Fontainebleau, a decree of the Sen- 
ate was published in the " Moniteur." It was to the effect 
that, according to the verification of the registers of the votes 
given upon the question of the Empire, made by a commis- 
sion of the Senate, Bonaparte and his family were declared 
to be called to the throne of France. The general total of 
voters amounted to 3,574,898. Of these, 3,572,329 were ayes, 
2,569 noes. 

The Court returned to Paris on Thursday, the 29th of 
November. The Emperor and the Pope traveled in the same 
carriage, and his Holiness was lodged in the Pavilion of 
Flora. Certain members of the household were appointed 
to attend on him. 

During the first few days of his residence in Paris, the 
Pope was not treated by the inhabitants with all the respect 
which might have been anticipated A crowd, attracted by 
curiosity, thronged his path when he visited the churches, 
and assembled under his balcony when he appeared there to 
give his blessing. By degrees, however, the description of the 
dignity of his manners given by those who had access to him, 
several noble and affecting sayings of his on different occa- 
sions, and the self-possession which he maintained in a position 
so new and strange to the head of Christendom, produced a 
marked change even among the lower classes of the people. 

Every morning the terrace of the Tuileries was covered 
with a great multitude, calling loudly for him, and kneeling 
to receive his blessing. The people were admitted to the 
gallery of the Louvre at certain specified times during the 
day, and then the Pope would walk from end to end of it 
and bless the multitude. Mothers flocked thither with their 
children, and were received with special kindness. One day 
an individual who was a well-known enemy of religion was 
in the gallery when the Pope arrived, and, as his curiosity 
urged him to stay, he held himself aloof, as though to avoid 
the benediction. The Pope drew near him, divined his se- 
cret hostility, and said to him, in the gentlest tone : " Why do 


you avoid me, sir ? Is there any danger in an old man's 

Yery soon all Paris resounded with praise of the Pope, 
and the Emperor's jealousy was excited. He made certain 
arrangements which obliged his Holiness to deny himself to 
the too eager entreaties of the faithful ; and the Pope, who 
detected the Emperor's uneasiness, adopted extreme reserve, 
but without allowing the slightest sign of human pride to 
appear in his manner or conduct. 

Two days before the coronation, M. de Re'musat, who, 
in addition to being Grand Chamberlain, was also Keeper of 
the Wardrobe, and therefore charged with all the details of 
the Imperial costumes, submitted to the Empress the superb 
diadem which had just been made for her. He found her 
in a state of delight and satisfaction, which she could hardly 
conceal from general notice. Presently she took my hus- 
band apart, and confided to him that, on the morning of that 
same day, an altar had been erected in the Emperor's cabi- 
net, and that Cardinal Fesch had performed the marriage 
ceremony between herself and Bonaparte, in the presence 
of two aides-de-camp. After the ceremony she had pro- 
cured a written certificate of the marriage from the Cardinal. 
She carefully preserved this document, and, notwithstanding 
all the Emperor's efforts to obtain it from her, she never 
could be induced to part with it. 

It has since been said that any religious marriage not 
witnessed by the cure of the parish in which it is celebrated 
is de facto null and void, and that a means of breaking the 
marriage was purposely reserved by this expedient. In that 
case, Cardinal Fesch must have been a consenting party to 
the fraud ; and yet his subsequent conduct forbids any such 
supposition. When violent quarrels arose on the subject of 
the divorce, and the Empress went so far as to threaten her 
husband with the publication of the certificate in her posses- 
sion, Cardinal Fesch was consulted upon the point. He 
repeatedly affirmed that the document was in good form, 


and that his conscience obliged him to declare the marriage 
so validly solemnized that it could not be broken otherwise 
than by an act of arbitrary authority. 

After the divorce the Emperor wanted to get possession 
of the document in question ; but the Cardinal advised the 
Empress not to part with it. It is a remarkable proof of the 
extent to which suspicion and distrust prevailed among all 
the members of the Bonaparte family, that the Empress, 
while availing herself of advice that coincided with her own 
feelings, told me she sometimes thought the Cardinal gave 
her that advice in connivance with the Emperor, who wanted 
to drive her to some outbreak which would give him an ex- 
cuse for banishing her from France. And yet, the uncle 
and nephew had quarreled, at that very time, about the 
Pope's affairs. 

On the 2d of December the coronation took place. It 
would be difficult to describe its splendor or to enter into the 
details of that day. The weather was cold ; but dry and 
bright ; the streets of Paris were crowded with people more 
curious than enthusiastic ; the guard under arms presented a 
fine spectacle. 

The Pope preceded the Emperor by several hours, and 
waited with admirable patience for the long-delayed arrival 
of the procession. He sat upon the throne erected for him 
in the church, and made no complaint either of cold or 
weariness. The Cathedral of Notre Dame was decorated 
with taste and magnificence. At the far end was a splendid 
throne for the Emperor, on which he was to appear sur- 
rounded by his entire Court. Before setting out for Notre 
Dame, we were admitted to the apartment of the Empress. 
Our attire was very brilliant, but it paled before the magnifi- 
cence of the costumes of the Imperial family. The Empress 
especially, sparkling with diamonds, and wearing her hair in 
countless curls, a style of the time of Louis XVI., did not 
look more than twenty-five.* She wore a white satin gown, 

* She was forty-one, having been born at Martinique on the 23d of June, 1763. 


and a Court mantle of the same material, both profusely 
embroidered in mingled gold and silver. Her ornaments 
consisted of a diadem, a necklace, earrings, and a girdle of 
diamonds of immense value ; and all this gorgeous attire was 
worn with her customary easy grace. Her sisters-in-law were 
also adorned with a vast quantity of jewels. The Emperor 
inspected each of us in our turn, smiling at this luxury, which 
was, like all the rest, a sudden creation of his sovereign will. 

His own costume was brilliant. He was to assume the 
Imperial robes at Notre Dame, but for the present he wore 
a French coat of red velvet embroidered in gold, a white 
sash, a short cloak sewn with bees, a plumed hat turned up 
in front with a diamond buckle, and the collar of the Legion 
of Honor in diamonds. This superb dress became him well. 
The whole Court wore velvet cloaks embroidered in gold. 
It must be acknowledged that we paraded ourselves a little 
for our mutual amusement; but the spectacle was really 

The Emperor got into his carriage it had seven glasses, 
and was gorgeously gilded with his wife and his two broth- 
ers, Joseph and Louis. Then we all took our appointed 
places in the carriages which were to follow, and the splen- 
did cortege proceeded at a foot-pace to Notre Dame. There 
was no lack of shouting on our way ; and, although the accla- 
mations of the people had not that ring of enthusiasm which 
a sovereign jealous of his people's love longs to recognize, 
they sufficed to gratify the vanity of a haughty master, but 
one who was not sensitive. 

On his arrival at Notre Dame, the Emperor entered the 
archiepiscopal palace, and there assumed his robes of state. 
They seemed almost to crush him ; his slight frame collapsed 
under the enormous mantle of ermine. A simple laurel- 
wreath encircled his head ; he looked like an antique medal- 
lion, but he was extremely pale, and genuinely affected. 
The expression of his countenance was stern and somewhat 


The ceremony was grand and impressive. A general 
movement of admiration was noticeable at the moment 
when the Empress was crowned. She was so unaffected, 
so graceful, as she advanced toward the altar, she knelt 
down with such simple elegance, that all eyes were de- 
lighted with the picture she presented. When she had to 
walk from the altar to the throne, there was a slight alter- 
cation with her sisters-in-law, who carried her mantle with 
such an ill grace that I observed at one moment the new- 
made Empress could not advance a step. The Emperor 
perceived this, and spoke a few sharp short words to his 
sisters, which speedily brought them to reason. 

During the ceremony, the Pope bore an air of resigna- 
tion of a noble sort, the result of his own will, and for a 
purpose of great utility. It was between two and three 
o'clock when the cortege left Notre Dame, and we did not 
reach the Tuileries until the short December day had closed 
in. We were lighted by the general illuminations, and a 
number of torches were carried along the line of vehicles. 
We dined at the chateau, with the Grand Marshal, and 
after dinner the Emperor received all the members of the 
Court who had not yet retired. He was in high spirits, 
and delighted with the ceremony ; he admired us all, jested 
about the effect of finery on women, and said to us, laugh- 
ingly, " You owe it to me, mesdames, that you are so charm- 
ing ! " He had not allowed the Empress to take off her 
crown, although she had dined tete-a-tete with him, and he 
complimented her on the grace with which she wore it. At 
length he dismissed us. 

Innumerable fetes and rejoicings took place during the 
ensuing month. On the 5th of December the Emperor 
went to the Champ de Mars with the same state as on the 
coronation day, and distributed eagles to a number of regi- 
ments. The enthusiasm of the soldiers far surpassed that 
of the people; but the bad weather spoiled the effect of 
this second great day. It rained in torrents, but neverthe- 


less an immense multitude thronged the Champ de Mars. 
M. Maret devoted the following flowery passage in the 
" Moniteur " to the rain of the 5th of December : " Al- 
though the situation of the spectators was distressing, there 
was not one among them who did not find ample com- 
pensation in the sentiment which induced him to remain 
in his place, and in the utterance of aspirations (ywux\ 
to which his acclamations bore testimony." 

A common and absurd form of flattery, and one which 
has been resorted to in every age, is the making believe that, 
because a king has need of sunshine, he can secure its pres- 
ence. I remember when it was a current saying at the Tui- 
leries that the Emperor had only to fix a certain day for a 
review or a hunting-party, and the sky could not fail to be 
cloudless. Whenever it was so, the fact was eagerly re- 
marked ; but nothing was said about the days that were dull 
01; rainy. A similar device was adopted in the time of Louis 
XIY. It was not, indeed, possible to say that it did not 
rain during the distribution of the eagles at the Champ de 
Mars, but I met many people who gravely assured me that 
the rain did not wet them. 

A spacious platform had been constructed for the accom- 
modation of the Imperial family and the Court; on this 
the throne, protected as much as possible from the rain, 
was placed. The canvas and hangings were speedily wet 
through ; the Empress was obliged to withdraw, with her 
daughter who was out for the first time after the birth of 
her second child and her sisters-in-law, excepting Mme. 
Murat, who continued to brave the weather although she 
was lightly dressed. She was training herself, as she said 
laughingly, "to endure the inevitable constraints of roy- 

On that day a sumptuous banquet was given at the Tui- 
leries. A table was laid in the Gallery of Diana, beneath a 
magnificent canopy, for the Pope, the Emperor, the Empress, 
and the first Arch-Chancellor of the German Empire. The 


Pope sat on the left of the Empress, and the Emperor on her 
right. They were waited on by the great officers of the 
household. Lower down, there was a table for the Princes, 
among whom was the Hereditary Prince of Baden ; a table 
for the Ministers ; one for the ladies and gentlemen of the 
Imperial household all served with the utmost luxury. 
Some fine music was performed during the repast. Then 
came a largely attended reception, at which the Pope was 
present ; and a ballet, performed by dancers from the Opera, 
in the great drawing-room. The Pope withdrew before the 
ballet. The evening concluded with cards, and the Emperor 
gave the signal for departure by retiring. 

At the Emperor's Court, play merely formed a portion of 
the ceremonial. He never allowed money to be staked, and 
the games were whist and loto. We used to make up the 
tables just for something to do, and generally talked, while 
we held our cards without looking at them. The Empress 
was fond of playing cards, even without money, and played 
whist in real earnest. Her card-table and that of the Prin- 
cesses were placed in the room called the Emperor's cabinet, 
at the entrance of the Gallery of Diana. She played with 
the greatest personages present, foreigners, ambassadors, or 
Frenchmen. The two ladies-in-waiting on duty for the week 
occupied seats behind her; a chamberlain stood near her 
chair. While she was playing, all who were in the rooms 
came, one after the other, to make their bows and courtesies 
to her. Bonaparte's brothers and sisters also played, and sent 
invitations to join their card-tables, by their respective cham- 
berlains, to various persons. His mother, who had been 
given a house and the title of Princess, but who was always 
called Madame Mere, did the same. The Emperor walked 
about everywhere, preceded by chamberlains who announced 
his presence. On his approach every voice was hushed ; no 
one left his place ; the ladies stood up, waiting for the insig- 
nificant, and frequently ungracious, remarks which he would 
address to them. He never remembered a name, and his 


first question almost invariably was, " And what do you call 
yourself ? " There was not a woman present on those occasions 
who did not rejoice when he moved away from her vicinity. 

This reminds me of an anecdote about Gretry. As a 
member of the Institute he frequently attended the Sunday 
receptions, and it happened several times that the Emperor, 
who had come to recognize his face, approached him almost 
mechanically and asked him his name. One day Gretry, 
who was tired of this perpetual question, and perhaps a little 
annoyed at not having produced a more lasting impression, 
answered to the Emperor's rudely uttered " And you ! who 
are you?" in a sharp, impatient tone, "Sire, I am still 
Gretry." Ever afterward the Emperor recognized him per- 
fectly. The Empress, on the contrary, had an accurate mem- 
ory for names, and also for the smallest particulars concern- 
ing each individual. 

For a long time the routine of the Court receptions con- 
tinued to be what I have described. Afterward, concerts, 
ballets, and even plays, were added to the list of amuse- 
ments ; but I shall refer to this subject in due order of time. 
The Emperor desired that special places should be assigned 
to the ladies-in-waiting, and these small privileges excited 
small jealousies which engendered great animosities, after 
the invariable law of courts. At this period the Emperor 
indulged in ceremonies of every kind ; he liked them, espe- 
cially because they were of his own creation. He always 
spoiled their effect to some extent by the habitual precipita- 
tion from which he could rarely refrain, and by the appre- 
hension lest all should not be exactly as he wished, with 
which he inspired everybody. On one occasion, he gave 
audience, seated on his throne and surrounded by the great 
officers of the household, the Marshals, and the Senate, to all 
the Prefects, and to the Presidents of the electoral colleges. 
He then granted a second audience to the former, and 
strongly urged them to carry out the conscription. " With- 
out that," said the Emperor (and these words were inserted 


in the " Moniteur "), " there can be neither national power 
nor national independence." No doubt, he was then cher- 
ishing a project for placing the crown of Italy upon his 
head, and felt that his designs must lead to war ; and, be- 
sides, as the impossibility of an invasion of England had 
been made clear to him, although the preparations were still 
carried on, the necessity for employing an army which was 
becoming a burden to France was pressed upon his atten- 
tion. In the midst of these graver subjects of anxiety, he 
had reason to be provoked with the Parisians. He had be- 
spoken from Chenier a tragedy to be acted on the occasion 
of the coronation. The poet had selected Cyrus for his 
theme, and the fifth act of the tragedy (the coronation of the 
hero of ancient history) represented the ceremony of Notre 
Dame accurately enough. The piece was a poor production, 
and the allusions in it were too palpable, too evidently writ- 
ten to order. The Parisian audience hissed the tragedy 
from first to last, and laughed aloud at the scene of the en- 
thronement. The Emperor was much displeased ; he was as 
angry with my husband as if M. de Remusat had been re- 
sponsible to him for the approbation of the public, and by 
the revelation of this weak point the public learned to avenge 
themselves at the theatre for the silence BO rigorously im- 
posed upon them elsewhere. 

The Senate gave a magnificent fete, and the Corps Legis- 
latif followed the example. On the 16th of December an 
entertainment took place, by which the city of Paris incurred 
a debt, unpaid for many years, for a grand public feast, fire- 
works, a ball, and the silver-gilt toilet-services presented to 
the Emperor and Empress. Addresses and laudatory in- 
scriptions abounded in all directions. The flatteries lavished 
upon Louis XIY. during his reign have been much com- 
mented upon ; I am sure, if they were all put together, they 
would not amount to one tenth of those which were be- 
stowed upon Bonaparte. Some years later, at another fete 
given by the city of Paris to the Emperor, the repertory of 


inscriptions being exhausted, a brilliant device was resorted 
to. Over the throne which he was to occupy were placed 
the following words from the Holy Scriptures, in letters of 
gold : " I am that I am." And no one seemed to be scan- 
dalized ! 

France was given up at this time to fetes and merry- 
making. Medals were struck and distributed profusely. 
The Marshals gave a great ball in the Opera House, at a cost 
of ten thousand francs to each. The pit was boarded over, 
on a level with the stage ; the boxes were festooned with 
silver gauze, brilliantly lighted, and filled with ladies in full 
dress. The Imperial family were seated apart on an es- 
trade, and the company danced in the vast inclosure. Flow- 
ers and diamonds in profusion, splendid dresses, and the 
magnificence of the Court made this a most brilliant enter- 
tainment. We were all put to great expense on these occa- 
sions. A sum of ten thousand francs was allowed to the 
ladies-in-waiting as compensation for their expenditure, but 
it was not nearly sufficient. The cost of the coronation 
amounted to four millions of francs. 

The princes and distinguished foreigners staying in Paris 
paid an assiduous court to our sovereign, and the Emperor 
did the honors of Paris with a good grace. Prince Louis of 
Baden was then very young, and rather shy ; he kept him- 
self in the background. The Prince Primate, who was over 
sixty, was amiable, lively, and garrulous. He was well ac- 
quainted with France, and with Paris, where he had lived in 
his youth ; he was fond of literature, and friendly with the 
former Academicians, who were admitted, with a few other 
persons, to the smaller receptions held by the Empress. 
During this winter about fifty ladies and a number of gen- 
tlemen used to be invited, once or twice a week, to sup at 
the Tuileries. Eight o'clock was the hour named, and full 
dress, but not Court dress, was worn. We played at cards 
in the drawing-room on the ground-floor, which is now 
Madame's drawing-room. On Bonaparte's appearance we 


used to pass into a music-room, where a musical performance 
by Italian singers occupied half an hour ; then we returned 
to the drawing-room, and resumed our cards. The Emperor 
would move about, either playing or talking. A sumptuous 
and elegant supper was served at eleven o'clock, the ladies 
only being seated. Bonaparte's arm-chair would remain un- 
occupied ; he would saunter round the table, but eat nothing. 
When supper was over, he would take his departure. The 
princes and princesses, the great officers of the Empire, two 
or three ministers, a few marshals, some generals, senators, 
State councilors, and their wives, were always invited to 
these small parties. There was great rivalry in dress. The 
Empress, as well as her sisters-in-law, always appeared in 
something new, with quantities of pearls and precious stones. 
She was the possessor of pearls worth a million of francs. 
At that time stuffs shot with gold or silver began to be worn. 
During the winter turbans became the fashion at court ; they 
were made either of white or colored muslin, spotted with 
gold, or of a brilliant Turkish material. By degrees our gar- 
ments assumed an Eastern shape : over our richly embroidered 
muslin gowns we used to wear short dresses of some colored 
fabric, open in front, and our arms, shoulders, and bosoms 

The Emperor, who, as I shall presently relate, was be- 
coming more and more deeply in love, sought to disguise 
the fact by paying attentions to all the ladies, and seemed at 
his ease only when surrounded by them. The gentlemen 
would then become aware that their presence embarrassed 
him, and they would retire to an adjoining room. The scene 
was then not unlike a harem, as I remarked one evening to 
Bonaparte. He was in a good humor, and laughed ; but my 
jest was far from pleasing to the Empress. 

The Pope, who passed his evenings in retirement, visited 
the churches, hospitals, and public institutions in the morn- 
ing. He officiated on one occasion at Notre Dame, and a 
great crowd was admitted to kiss his feet. He visited Yer- 


sallies and the suburbs of Paris, and was received with such 
profound respect at the Invalides that the Emperor grew 
uneasy. And yet I heard that, while his Holiness was most 
anxious to return to Rome, the Emperor still detained him. 
I have never been able to discover his motive. 

The Pope was always dressed in white : having been a 
monk, he wore a woolen habit, and over it a sort of surplice 
of cambric trimmed with lace, which had a curious effect. 
His calotte, or skull-cap, was of white woolen stuff. 

At the end of December the Corps Legislatif was opened 
in state ; labored speeches upon the importance and the hap- 
piness of the great event which had just taken place were 
delivered, and a report, not only flourishing but als*o true, on 
the prosperous condition of France, was presented. 

Meanwhile, applications for places at the new Court were 
numerous, and the Emperor acceded to some of them. He 
also named senators from among the presidents of the elec- 
toral colleges. Marmont was made colonel-general of the 
Mounted Chasseurs ; and the Grand Cordon of the Legion of 
Honor was bestowed on Cambaceres, Lebrun, the Marshals, 
Cardinal Fesch, MM. Duroc, De Caulaincourt, De Talley- 
rand, De Segur, and also on several Ministers, the Chief 
Judge, and on MM. Gaudin and Portalis, Ministers of Pub- 
lic Worship. These appointments and favors kept every 
one in a state of expectation. 

Thenceforth the impulse was given ; people became ac- 
customed to wishing, to waiting, to seeing daily some new 
thing. Each day would bring forth some little circumstance, 
unexpected in itself, but anticipated ; for we had acquired a 
habit of always being on the lookout for something. After- 
ward the Emperor extended to the entire nation, to the whole 
of Europe, the system of continually exciting ambition, cu- 
riosity, and hope : this was not the least ingenious secret of 
his government. 



The Emperor in Love Mme. de X Mme. de Damas The Empress confides 

in me Palace Intrigues Murat is raised to the Rank of Prince. 

THE Empress could not forbear from occasionally com- 
plaining, in private, that her son had no share in the promo- 
tions which were made daily ; but she had the good sense to 
conceal her dissatisfaction, and Eugene himself maintained 
an easy attitude, which was highly honorable to him, and in 
marked contrast with the jealous impatience of Murat. Mme. 
Murat was continually importuning the Emperor to raise her 
husband to a rank which would place him above the Mar- 
shals, among whom it annoyed him to be included. During 
the winter both the husband and wife contrived to profit by 
the weakness of the Emperor, and earned a claim to his favor 
by making themselves useful in his new love affair, as we 
shall presently see. 

I have already said that Eugene was captivated by Mme. 
de X . This lady, who was then twenty-four or twenty- 
five years of age, was of fair hair and complexion ; her blue 
eyes could wear any expression she chose, except indeed that 
of frankness ; her disposition was habitually deceitful. Her 
nose was aquiline and rather long, her mouth was lovely, and 
her teeth, which she frequently displayed, were beautiful. 
She was of middle height, with an elegant but too slender 
figure ; she had small feet, and danced to perfection. She 
had no remarkable ability, but was not wanting in clever- 


ness ; her manners were quiet and cold. It was difficult to 
excite her feelings, still more difficult to hurt them. 

The Empress had at first treated her with marked dis- 
tinction. She praised her beauty, approved of her style of 
dress, and made more of her than of others, for the sake of 
her son, Prince Eugene. This, perhaps, led in the first in- 
stance to the Emperor's taking notice of her. He began to 
pay her attention during the sojourn of the Court at Fon- 

Mme. Murat, who was the first to discern her brother's 
inclination, tried to insinuate herself into the confidence of 
the lady, and succeeded so far as to set her on her guard 
against the keen eyes of the Empress. Murat, in accordance, 
I believe, with some private arrangement, pretended to be 

an admirer of Mme. de X , and thus for a time threw 

the Court off the scent. 

The Empress, who was well aware of the new passion of 
the Emperor, but could not discover its object, at first sus- 
pected the Marechale Ney, to whom he was in the habit of 
talking a good deal ; and for a few days that poor lady was 
closely watched. As usual, the Empress confided her jealous 
suspicions to me, but I saw nothing as yet to justify them. 

The Empress complained to Mme. Louis of what she 
called the perfidy of Mme. Ney. The latter was questioned, 
and, after having declared that her own feeling toward the 
Emperor was simply fear, she admitted that he had some- 
times appeared to pay her attention, and that Mme. de X 

had congratulated her on the grand conquest she was about 
to make. This was a flash of light to the Empress. She at 
once discovered the truth, and saw that Murat was feigning 
love for the lady only that he might be the bearer of declara- 
tions from the Emperor. 

In Duroc's deference toward Mme. de X she also 

discerned a proof of his master's sentiments, and in the con- 
duct of Mme. Murat a deeply laid scheme against her own 
peace of mind. The Emperor began to pass more time in 

MME. DE X . 231 

his wife's apartments. Nearly every evening he would come 
down, and his looks and words betrayed the object of his 
preference. If Josephine went privately to the theatre for 
the Emperor did not like her to appear in public without 
him he would join her party unexpectedly; and day by 
day he became more engrossed and less capable of self-con- 
trol. Mme. de X maintained an appearance of indiffer- 
ence, but she made use of every art of feminine coquetry. 
Her dress became more and more elegant, her smile more 
subtle, her looks more full of meaning ; and it was soon easy 
enough to guess what was going on. The Empress suspected 
that Mme. Murat connived at secret interviews in her own 
house, and she afterward became certain of the fact. Then/ 
according to her custom, she burst into tears and reproaches, 
and once more I found myself obliged to listen to confidences 
which were dangerous to receive, and to give advice which 
was never heeded. 

The Empress attempted expostulations, but they were 
very badly taken. Her husband lost his temper, reproached 
her with opposing his pleasures, and ordered her to be silent ; 
and while she, abandoned to her grief, was sad and downcast 
in public, he, more gay, free, and animated than we had yet 
seen him, paid attention to us all, and lavished rough com- 
pliments on us. On the occasions of the Empress's recep- 
tions, of which I have already spoken, he looked really like 
a Sultan. He would sit down to a card-table, often selecting 

his sister Caroline, Mme. de X , and myself to make up 

his game ; and, scarcely noticing his cards, he would start 
some sentimental discussion in his own style, with more wit 
than sentiment, occasionally with doubtful taste, but with a 

great deal of animation. On these occasions Mme. de X 

was very reserved, and, being probably afraid lest I might 
make some discoveries, would answer in monosyllables only. 

Mme. Murat took but slight interest in these conversa- 
tions ; she always went straight to her point, and cared little 
for detail. As for me, I was amused by them, and I could 


take my part with a liberty of spirit not possessed by the 
other three, who were all more or less preoccupied. Some- 
times, without naming any one, Bonaparte would commence 
. a dissertation on jealousy, and then it was easy to see that 
he applied it to his wife. I understood him, and defended 
her gayly, as well as I could, without plainly indicating her ; 

and I could see that Mme. de X and Mme. Murat gave 

me no thanks for that. 

Mme. Bonaparte would keep a watch on us during these 
conversations, which always made her uneasy, from the 
other end of the room, where she was playing at cards. Al- 
though she had reason to know she might depend on me, 
"yet, as she was naturally suspicious, she sometimes feared 
that I would sacrifice her to the desire of pleasing the Em- 
peror, and she was also vexed with me because I would not 
tax him with his conduct. 

She would sometimes ask me to go to him and tell him 
of the harm which, as she said, this new entanglement was 
doing him in the eyes of the world ; again, she wanted me 

to contrive that Mme. de X should be watched in her 

own house, whither she knew Bonaparte sometimes went of 
an evening ; or else she would make me write, in her pres- 
ence, anonymous letters full of reproaches. These I wrote 
in order to satisfy her, and to prevent her from getting other 
persons to write them ; but I carefully burned them after- 
ward, although I assured her that I had sent them. 

Servants whom she could trust were employed to dis- 
cover the proofs she sought for. The employees of her 
favorite tradespeople were taken into her confidence, and I 
suffered the more from her imprudent conduct, when I 
learned shortly afterward that Mme. Murat put down all the 
discoveries made by the Empress to my account, and accused 
me of a mean espionage of which I was incapable. 

The Empress was the more distressed because her son 

was profoundly grieved by this affair. Mme. de X , 

who, either from coquetry, inclination, or vanity, had at first 

MME. DE X. 233 

listened favorably to him, avoided even the slightest appear- 
ance of friendship with him since her new and more brilliant 
conquest. She probably boasted to the Emperor of the pas- 
sion with which she had inspired Eugene ; certain it is that 
the latter was treated with coldness by his stepfather. The 
Empress showed her anger at this ; the Princess Louis was 
also distressed, but she concealed her feelings ; Eugene was 
sore at heart, but his outward composure laid him little open 
to attack. 

In all this the undying hatred between the Bonapartes 
and the Beauharnais was displayed, and it was my fate to 
find myself entangled in it, notwithstanding all my modera- 
tion. I have discovered by experience that everything, or 
nearly everything, depends on chance at Court. Human 
prudence is not a sufficient safeguard, and I know no means 
of escaping from misconstruction, unless the sovereign him- 
self be incapable of suspicion. Far from this, however, the 
Emperor welcomed all gossip, and believed everything that 
was ill-natured, on any subject. The surest way to please 
him was to carry every rumor to him, and to denounce 
everybody's conduct ; and therefore M. de Remusat, who 
was placed so near him, never obtained his favor. He de- 
clined to tread such a path to success, although it was fre- 
quently pointed out to him by Duroc. 

One evening the Emperor, who was quite out of patience, 
owing to a scene with his wife, in which, driven to despera- 
tion, she had declared she would forbid the entry of her 

apartments to Mme. de X , addressed himself to M. de 

Remusat, and complained that I did not use my influence 
over her to dissuade her from acts of imprudence. He con- 
cluded by telling him that he wished to speak to me in pri- 
vate, and that I was to ask for an audience. M. de Kemusat 
conveyed this order to me, and accordingly on the following 
day I asked for an audience, which was fixed for the next 

A hunting-party had been arranged for that day. The 


Empress started first with the foreign princes ; she was to 
wait for the Emperor in the Bois de Boulogne. I arrived 
just as the Emperor was entering his carriage ; his suite was 
assembled round him. He returned to his cabinet in order 
to receive me, to the great astonishment of the Court, to 
whom the merest trifle was an event. 

He began by complaining bitterly of the discussions in 
his household, and launched out into invectives against wo- 
men in general, and his own wife in particular. He re- 
proached me with assisting her spies, and accused me of 
many actions of which I knew nothing whatever, but which 
had been reported to him. I recognized in all he said the 
ill offices of Mme. Murat, and, what hurt me more, I per- 
ceived that in several instances the Empress had used my 
name, and had attributed to me her own words or thoughts, 
in order to strengthen her case. This, together with the 
Emperor's angry words, distressed me, and tears rose to 
my eyes. The Emperor noticed them, and rudely rebuked 
my emotion with a saying which he frequently used, and 
which I have already quoted : " Women have always two 
ways of producing an effect paint and tears." Just then 
these words, uttered in an ironical tone and with the inten- 
tion of disconcerting me, had the opposite effect ; they an- 
gered me, and gave me courage to answer : " No, Sire ; but 
when I am unjustly accused, I can not but weep tears of in- 

I must render this testimony to the Emperor : he was 
seldom hard upon any one who displayed firmness ; either 
because, meeting with it seldom, he was unprepared for it, 
or because his natural sense of justice responded to a feeling 
justly entertained. 

He was not displeased with me. " Since you do not ap- 
prove," he said, " of the watch set over me by the Empress, 
how is it your influence is not sufficient to deter her ? She 
humiliates both herself and me by surrounding me with 
spies; she only furnishes weapons to her enemies. Since 

MMR DE X 235 

you are in her confidence, you must answer for her, and I 
shall hold you responsible for all her faults." He smiled 
slightly as he spoke these words. Then I represented to 
him that I was tenderly attached to the Empress ; that I 
was incapable of advising her to an improper course of ac- 
tion ; but that no one could gain much influence over a per- 
son of so passionate a nature. I told him that he showed 
no tact in dealing with her, and that, whether he was right- 
ly or wrongly suspected, he was harsh and treated her too 
roughly. I durst not blame the Empress for that which was 
really blameworthy in her conduct, for I knew he would not 
fail to repeat my words to his wife. I ended by telling him 
that I should keep away from the palace for some time, and 
that he would see whether things went on any better in con- 

He then said that he was not, and could not be, in love ; 
that he thought no more of Mme. de X than of any- 
body else ; that love was for men of a different disposition 
from his own ; that he was altogether absorbed in politics ; 
that he would have no women ruling in his Court ; that they 
had injured Henry IY. and Louis XIV. ; that his own busi- 
ness was a much more serious one than that of those kings, 
and that Frenchmen had become too grave to pardon their 
sovereign for recognized liaisons and official mistresses. He 
spoke of his wife's past conduct, adding that she had not the 
right to be severe. I ventured to check him on this subject, 
and he was not angry with me. Finally, he questioned me 
as to the individuals who were employed as spies by the Em- 
press. I could only answer that I knew none of them. Then 
he reproached me with want of attachment to himself. I 
maintained that I was more sincerely devoted than those who 
carried worthless gossip to him. This conversation ended 
better than it had begun ; I could perceive that I had made 
a favorable impression. 

. This interview had lasted a long time ; and the Empress, 
who grew tired of waiting in the Bois de Boulogne, had sent 


a mounted servant to discover what was detaining her hus- 
band. She was informed that he was alone with me. Her 
uneasiness became very great ; she returned to the Tuileries, 
and, finding I was no longer there, she sent Mme. de Tal- 
houet to m y house to learn all that had taken place. In 
obedience to the Emperor's commands, I replied that the 
conversation had been restricted to certain matters relative 
to M. de Kemusat. 

In the evening there was a dance at General Savary's, at 
which the Emperor had promised to be present. During 
the winter he took every opportunity of appearing in so- 
ciety ; he was in good spirits, and would even dance, rather 
awkwardly. I arrived at Mme. Savary's before the Court 
party. The Grand Marshal (Duroc) came forward to meet 
me, and offered his arm to conduct me to my place ; and our 
host was full of attentions. My long audience of that morn- 
ing had given rise to conjectures ; I was treated with re- 
spect, as though I were in high favor, or had received confi- 
dential communications. I could not help smiling at the 
simple cunning of these courtiers. 

Presently the Emperor and Empress arrived. In making 
his progress round the room, Bonaparte stopped and spoke 
to me in a friendly manner. The Empress was watching us, 
full of anxiety. Mme. Murat looked astonished and Mme. 

de X nervous. All this amused me ; I did not foresee 

the consequences. The next day the Empress pressed me 
with questions which I took care not to answer ; she became 
offended, and declared that I was sacrificing her to the Em- 
peror, that I chose the safe side, and that I no more than 
others cared for her. Her reproaches grieved me deeply. 

I confided all my troubles to my dear mother. I was ac- 
quiring a bitter experience, and was still young enough to 
shed tears over it. My mother comforted me, and advised 
me to hold myself a little aloof, which I did ; but this did 
not help me. The Emperor obliged me to speak to him, 
and, when he reproached his wife for her indiscreet behavior, 


pretended he was repeating my opinions. The Empress 
treated me with coldness ; I saw that she avoided speaking 
to me, and, for my part, I did not consider myself bound to 
seek her confidence. 

The Emperor, who enjoyed sowing dissension between 
us, perceived the coolness, and paid me, in consequence, all 

the more attention; but Mme. de X , who had been 

taught to dislike me, and was uneasy at the favor in which I 
was held, and who also perhaps did me the honor of feeling 
a little jealous, tried in every way to injure me. As every- 
thing in this world works together for evil purposes only 
too readily, she found an opportunity in which she was per- 
fectly successful. 

On the other hand, Eugene Beauharnais and the Princess 
Louis were convinced that I had betrayed their mother, in 
order to further the ambition of M. de Remusat, who pre- 
ferred the favor of the master to that of the mistress. M. 
de Remusat held himself entirely aloof from all these mat- 
ters ; but, where ambition is concerned, the probable is al- 
ways the true in the belief of dwellers in a court. Eugene, 
who had been friendly to my husband, now kept aloof from 
him. As courtiers, our position was not an unfavorable one ; 
but, as we were merely honorable people and would not reap 
any disgraceful advantage from it, we were both greatly dis- 

I have still to relate how Mme. de X contrived to 

strike the final blow. Among my mother's friends and mine 
was Mme. Charles de Damas, whose daughter, the wife of 
the Count de Yogiie, was the intimate friend of my sister, 
and was also intimate, though in a less degree, with myself. 
Mme. de Damas was an ardent Hoyalist, and in the habit of 
expressing her opinions with some imprudence. She had 
even been accused, after the affair of the 3d Mvose (the in- 
fernal machine), of having concealed certain Chouans who 
were implicated. In the autumn of 1804 Mme. de Damas 
was exiled to a distance of forty leagues from Paris, on ac- 


count of some foolish speeches. This act of severity sorely 
distressed both the mother and the daughter : the latter was 
near her confinement, and I, having witnessed their tears and 
shared their grief, went for consolation to the Empress. She 
spoke to her husband, and he was good enough to listen to 
my petition, and to grant me the revocation of the sentence. 

Mme. de Damas, in her impulsive and affectionate way, 
published abroad the service I had rendered her, and, bound 
by feelings of gratitude to the Empress, as well as alarmed 
at the risk she had run, she became thenceforth more careful 
of her words. She never mentioned politics to me, but re- 
spected my position as I respected her feelings. 

It happened, however, that in the Marquise de C , a 

lady who had formerly been celebrated at Court and in so- 
ciety for her brilliancy of repartee, Mme. de Damas had an 

enemy. Mme. de C was on friendly terms with Mme. de 

X , and, having discovered her liaison with the Emper- 
or, she extorted an avowal of the facts from Mme. de X . 

Then, being of an active and scheming disposition, she 
undertook to advise her friend in her capacity of mistress 
to the sovereign. They had some conversation about me, 

and Mme. de C , who always imagined the intrigues of 

Versailles in the incidents of the Emperor's Court, con- 
cluded, with some show of probability, that it was my inten- 
tion to supplant the new favorite. As I was reputed to pos- 
sess some talent, and as my reputation on this point owed a 
great deal to my mother's, it was supposed that I must be 

fond of intrigue. Mme. de C , intending to do a bad 

turn to Mme. de Damas, and at the same time to injure me, 

mentioned her to Mme. de X as a woman more devoted 

than ever to her Eoyalist opinions, ready to enter into any 
secret correspondence, and to abuse the indulgence with 
which she had been treated, by acting against the Emperor 
whenever she could. My friendship with her was described 
as more intimate than it really was ; and this, being reported 
to the Emperor, served to prejudice him against me. He no 


longer summoned me to join him at the card-table, nor con- 
versed with me ; I was not invited to Malmaison or to the 
hunting-parties ; in short, I found myself in disgrace without 
being able to guess at the cause, for, on account of my fail- 
ing health, I was living in comparative solitude and retire- 
ment. My husband and I were too closely united for dis- 
grace to fall on one without including the other, and neither 
of us could understand why we were thus treated. 

As the Emperor's friendship for me cooled, I regained 
the confidence of his wife, who took me back into favor as 
lightly as she had given me up, and without a word of ex- 
planation. By this time I knew her sufficiently to under- 
stand that explanations would be useless. She enlightened 
me respecting the Emperor's displeasure. She had learned 
from him that Mme. de C and Mme. de X had in- 
formed against me. He had gone so far as to acknowledge to 
his wife that he was in love, and gave her to understand that 
he must not be thwarted ; adding, in order to console her, 
that it was a passing fancy, which would only be increased by 
opposition, but would soon pass away if it were not balked. 

The Empress made up her mind to endurance ; but she 

never addressed Mme. de X . The latter cared little for 

that, however, and regarded the conjugal broils of which she 
was the cause with impudent indifference. Besides, under 
the direction of Mme. Murat, she ministered to the Emper- 
or's tastes by retailing to him a great deal of evil of a great 
number of people. Many persons were ruined during her 
spell of favor, and she fostered the worst qualities of the 
Emperor's suspicious nature. 

When I learned this new accusation against me, I again 
requested an audience of him ; but this time his manner was 
stern. He reproached me with being friendly only with his 
enemies, with having defended the Polignacs, with being an 
agent of the "aristocrats." "I intended to make a great 
lady of you," he said "to raise your fortunes to a great 
height ; but all that can only be the reward of entire devo- 


tion. You must break with your former friends, and, the 
next time Mme. de Damas comes to your house, you must 
refuse her admittance, and have her told that you can not 
associate with my enemies. Then I shall believe in your 
attachment." I made no attempt to point out to him how 
contrary such a mode of action would be to all my habits; 
but I consented to refrain from seeing Mme. de Damas, 
whose conduct, at least since the pardon had been granted 
her, I defended. He spoke to me very severely; he was 
deeply prejudiced, and I saw that I must only trust to time 
to open his eyes. 

A few days later Mme. de Damas was again ordered into 
exile. She was ill in bed ; and the Emperor sent Corvisart 
to her, to certify whether, in fact, she could not be removed. 
Corvisart was a friend of mine, and gave his opinion accord- 
ing to my wishes ; but at length Mme. de Damas recovered 
and left Paris. It was long before she returned. I no longer 
visited her, nor did she come to me, but she retained her 
former affection for me, and perfectly understood the mo- 
tives which constrained me to act as I did. Count Charles 
de Damas, who was straightforward, simple, and less indis- 
creet than his wife, was never annoyed by the police, while 
they kept constant watch on Mme. de Damas. Some years 
later, the Emperor gave Mme. de Yogiie to understand that 
he wished her to be presented at Court : this was during the 
reign of the Archduchess.* 

Meanwhile the Bonapartes triumphed. Eugene, the con- 
stant object of their jealousy, was positively badly treated, 
and was a source of secret trouble to the Emperor. Sud- 
denly, toward the end of January, in very severe weather, 
Eugene received orders to proceed with his regiment to Italy 
within four and twenty hours. Eugene felt convinced that 
he was in complete disgrace. The Empress, believing this to 
be the doing of Mme. de X , wept bitterly, but her son 

* On the death of M. de Vogue, his widow married the Count de Chastellux, 
now a colonel, and brother-in-law to the imprudent La Bedoyere. 


strictly forbade her to make any appeal. He took leave of 
the Emperor, who received him with coldness, and we heard 
the following day that the Guards' Hegiment of Guides had 
departed, its colonel marching at its head, notwithstanding 
the inclemency of the season. 

The Princess Louis, in speaking to me of this harsh act, 
expressed her pride in her brother's obedience. "If the 
Emperor," she said, " had exacted such a thing from a mem- 
ber of his own family, you would have seen what a noise 
would have been made ; but not one word has been uttered 
in this case, and I think Bonaparte must be impressed by 
such an act of submission." And in fact he was, but still 
more by the ill-natured satisfaction of his brothers and sisters. 
He liked to disappoint them ; and although, in a fit of jeal- 
ousy, he had sent away his stepson, he immediately re- 
warded him for his good behavior. On the 1st of February, 
1805, the Senate received two letters * from the Emperor. 

* The following are the two messages addressed by the Emperor on the same 
day, 12th Pluvi6se, year 13 (1st February, 1805), to the Senate: 

" SENATORS : We have appointed our brother-in-law, Marshal Murat, to be 
Grand Admiral of the Empire. We desire to recognize not only his services to the 
country, and the particular attachment he has shown to our person throughout his 
whole life, but also what is due to the luster and dignity of the Crown, by raising 
to the rank of Prince an individual so closely allied to us by the ties of blood." 

" SENATORS : We have appointed our stepson, Eugene Beauharnais, Vice- 
Arch-Chaneellor of State to the Empire. Among all the acts of our sovereignty, 
there is not one more gratifying to our heart. Brought up by our care, and 
from his childhood, under our own people, he has proved himself worthy of imi- 
tating, and, with the help of God, of some day surpassing, the ^samples and the 
lessons we have given him. Although he is still young, we shall from this day 
forward consider him, on account of the experience we have had of his conduct 
in the most momentous circumstances, as one of the pillars of our throne, and 
one of the most able defenders of his country. In the midst of the cares and 
trials of the high rank to which we have been called, our heart has sought for 
affection in the tenderness and consoling friendship of this child of our adop- 
tion; a consolation which is, no doubt, necessary to all men, but preeminently 
so to us, whose every moment is devoted to the affairs of nations. Our paternal 
blessing will follow this young Prince throughout his whole career, and, with 
the help of Providence, he will one day be worthy of the approbation of pos- 
terity." P. R. 


In one he announced the elevation of Marshal Murat to the 
rank of Prince and Grand Admiral of the Empire. This 
was the reward of his recent acts of complaisance, and the 
result of Mme. Murat's importunities. In the other letter, 
which was couched in nattering and affectionate terms toward 
Eugene, he was created Yice- Arch-Chancellor of State. This 
was one of the great posts of the Empire. Eugene heard of 
his promotion when ha was a few miles from Lyons, where 
the courier found him on horseback at the head of his regi- 
ment, covered with thickly falling snow. 

Before I deal with the union of the crown of Italy with 
that of France, a great event which afforded us a new spec- 
tacle, and was the cause of the war that broke out in the 
autumn of this year, I will relate all that remains to be told 
concerning Mme. de X . 

She seemed to engross the Emperor's thoughts more and 
more ; and, as she became assured of her power, so she be- 
came less circumspect in her conduct toward the Empress, 
and seemed to delight in her misery. During a short stay 
which we made at Malmaison, appearances were more than 
ever outraged. To the surprise of every one, the Emperor 

would walk about the grounds with Mme. de X and 

young Mme. Savary whose eyes and tongue were not at all 
formidable and he devoted less time than usual to business. 
The Empress remained in her room, weeping, tortured with 
apprehension, brooding upon recognized liaisons, disgrace 
and oblivion for herself, and possibly divorce, the continu- 
ally recurring' object of her apprehensions. She no longer 
had courage for useless altercations ; but her sadness bore 
witness to her grief, and at last touched her husband's heart. 
Perhaps his love for her revived, or possession weakened his 

passion for Mme. de X , or he became ashamed of the 

sway the latter exercised over him ; but, whatever was the 
cause, that which he had predicted of himself came to pass. 
One day, when he was alone with his wife and saw her 
weeping at something he had said, he suddenly resumed the 


affectionate manner of former times, and, admitting her to 
the most intimate confidence, owned to her once more that 
he had been very much infatuated, but said that it was all 
over. He added that he had detected an attempt to govern 

him that Mme. de X had told him a number of very 

ill-natured stories ; and he actually concluded by asking the 
Empress to assist him to put an end to a liaison which he no 
longer cared about. 

The Empress was not in the least vindictive ; it is but 
just to say that for her. So soon as she found that she no 
longer had anything to fear, her anger vanished. Delighted 
to be rid of her trouble, she showed no severity toward the 
Emperor, but once more became the gentle and indulgent 
wife, always ready to forgive him. She objected to any 
publicity on this occasion, and even promised her husband 

that, if he would alter his behavior to Mme. de X , she, 

on her part, would alter hers also, and would shield the lady 
from any annoyance which might result from the change. 
She only claimed the right to an interview with Mme. de 

X . Accordingly, she sent for her, and spoke to her 

plainly and frankly, pointing out the risk she had run, ex- 
cusing her apparent levity on the plea of her youth and im- 
prudence, recommending greater discretion for the future, 
and promising that the past should be forgotten. 

During this conversation Mme. de X remained per- 
fectly self-possessed, calmly denying that she deserved any 
such admonitions, evincing no emotion, not a trace of grati- 
tude. In sight of the whole Court, which for some time 
continued to observe her, she maintained a cool and self- 
contained demeanor, which proved that her heart was not 
much concerned in the intimacy now broken off, and also 
that she could keep her private feelings well in check for 
it is difficult to believe that her vanity, at any rate, was not 
deeply mortified. The Emperor, who, as I have already 
said, dreaded the least appearance of being ruled by anybody, 
ostentatiously exhibited his freedom. He was not even 


commonly civil to Mme. de X ; he never looked at her ; 

and he spoke slightingly of her, either to Mme. Bonaparte, 
who could not deny herself the pleasure of repeating his 
words, or to men with whom he was on familiar terms. He 
was careful to explain that this had only been a passing 
fancy, and would relate the successive phases of it with in- 
decent candor, most insulting toward her who had been its 
object. He was ashamed of his infatuation, for it was a 
proof that he had submitted to a power stronger than his 

This behavior confirmed me in a belief which I had 
often expounded to the Empress in order to console her. To 
be the wife of such a man might be a grand and enviable 
position, gratifying to one's pride at least ; but to be his mis- 
tress could never be otherwise than unsatisfactory, for his 
was not a nature to compensate a weak and loving woman 
for the sacrifices she would have to make for him, nor to af- 
ford an ambitious one the means of exercising power. 

With the short reign of Mme. de X the influence of 

Murat and the Bonapartes came for the time being to an 
end ; for, on the reconciliation of the Emperor with his wife, 
his former confidence in her revived, and he heard from her 
lips of all the petty schemes of which she had been the vic- 
tim and himself the object. I profited in a measure by the 
change ; yet the impression which had been made could not 
be altogether effaced, and the Emperor retained his convic- 
tion that M. de Eemusat and I were incapable of the sort of 
devotion that he required, a devotion claiming the sacrifice 
both of personal inclinations and of those convenances which 
he despised. He had a right, perhaps, to expect the former : 
one ought to renounce a Court life, unless one can make it the 
only sphere of one's thoughts and actions ; and neither my 
husband nor I was capable of doing so. I have always longed to 
attach myself with all my heart to the duties of my state, and 
at this period I was too heart-sore not to feel some constraint 
in performing those which devolved on me. I began to see 


that the Emperor was not the man I had taken him for. 
Already he inspired me with fear rather than with affection ; 
and, in proportion as my assiduity in obeying him increased, 
I felt the sharp pain of vanishing illusions, and I suffered 
beforehand from all that I foresaw. The quaking of the 
earth on which we stood alarmed both M. de Remusat and 
myself, and he especially resigned himself with difficulty to 
a life which was extremely unpleasing to him. 

When I recall these troubles now, how happy I am to 
see him, quiet and contented, at the head of affairs in an im- 
portant province, honorably fulfilling the duty of a good 
citizen, and serving his country usefully ! * Can there be a 
worthier employment of the faculties of an enlightened and 
high-hearted man, or a greater contrast with the restless, 
troublesome, not to say ridiculous life which has to be led, 
without one moment's intermission, in the courts of kings ? 
I say courts, because they are all alike. No doubt the dif- 
ference of character in sovereigns has some influence over 
the lives of those who surround them ; there are shades of 
difference in the homage exacted by Louis XIV., our own 
King Louis XVIII., the Emperor Alexander, or Bonaparte. 
But, though masters may differ, courtiers are everywhere the 
same ; the same passions are in play, for vanity is invariably 
their secret spring. Jealousy, the longing to supplant others, 
the fear of being stopped on the road, or finding others pre- 
ferred to one's self these do, and always will, cause similar 
perturbations ; and I am prof oundly persuaded that any one, 
who, dwelling in a palace, wishes to exercise his faculties of 
thinking and of feeling, must be unhappy. 

Toward the end of this winter the Imperial Court was 
again augmented. A number of persons, among whom I 
could name some who are now inexorable to all who ever 
were in the Emperor's service, were eagerly bidding for place. 
The Empress, M. de Talleyrand, and M. de Bmusat received 

* At the time I write, September, 1818, my husband is Prefect of the D6par- 
tement du Nord. 


their requests, and handed long lists to Bonaparte, who would 
smile when he saw in the same column the names of ci-de- 
vant Liberals, of soldiers who had been jealous of his pro- 
motion, and of gentlemen who, after having jeered at what 
they called our farce of royalty, were now all begging to be 
allowed to play parts in it. Some of these petitions were 
granted. Mesdames de Turenne, de Montalivet, de Bouille, 
Devaux, and Marescot were appointed Ladies-in- Waiting ; 
MM. Hedouville, de Croij, de Mercy d'Argenteau, de 
Tournon, and de Bondy were made Chamberlains to the 
Emperor ; MM. de Beam, de Courtomer, and the Prince de 
Gavre, Chamberlains to the Empress ; M. de Canisy, Equer- 
ry ; M. de Bausset, Prefect of the Palace, etc. 

This numerous Court consisted of various elements for- 
eign to each other, but all were brought to one level by fear 
of the all-powerful master. There was little rivalry among 
the ladies ; they were strangers to each other, and did not 
become intimate. The Empress treated them all alike. 
Mme. de la Rochefoucauld, light-hearted and easy-tempered, 
showed no jealousy toward any one. The Mistress of the 
Robes was amiable, silent, and nothing more. Day by day 
I drew back from the somewhat dangerous friendship of the 
Empress; but I must own that such was her evenness of 
temper, so gracious was her bearing, that the Court circle by 
which she was surrounded was free from disturbance or jeal- 

It was not so in the case of the Emperor but then he 
himself designedly kept up a state of disquiet. For instance, 
M. de Talleyrand, who had slightly diminished the impor- 
tance of M. de Remusat's position, not with the intention of 
injuring him, but in order to satisfy some new-comers who 
were jealous of my husband, was brought into closer contact 
with him afterward, and began to appreciate his worth and 
to show some interest in him. Bonaparte perceived this. 
The slightest appearance of private friendship alarmed him, 
and he took the minutest precautions to prevent anything of 


the kind ; so he spoke to m j husband one day in a tone of 
unusual cordiality. " Take care," said he, " M. de Talley- 
rand seems to be making advances to you ; but I know to a 
certainty that he bears you no good will." 

" And why should M. de Talleyrand bear me ill will ? " 
said my husband to me, on repeating these words. "We could 
not tell why, but this speech gave us a feeling of distrust, 
which was all that the Emperor wanted. 

Such was the state of things at the Emperor's Court in 
the spring of 1805. I will now retrace my steps and give an 
account of the momentous resolution that was come to con- 
cerning the crown of Italy. 




Opening of the Session of the Senate M. de Talleyrand's Eeport Letter from the 
Emperor to the King of England Union of the Crown of Italy to the Empire 
Mme. Bacciochi becomes Princess of Piombino Performance of " Athalie" 
The Emperor goes to Italy His Dissatisfaction M. de Talleyrand Prospect 
of War with Austria. 

ON the 4th of February, 1805, we were informed by the 
" Moniteur " that the King of England had intimated, in his 
speech on the opening of Parliament on the 16th of January, 
that the Emperor had made fresh propositions of reconcilia- 
tion. The Government had replied that nothing could be 
agreed upon without previously conferring with the other 
Powers of the Continent, and especially with the Emperor 

According to custom, some sharp comments were made 
upon this speech, which, while they put forward the friendly 
relations that existed at least, outwardly between ourselves 
and the sovereigns of Europe, yet admitted a certain coolness 
between the Emperors of Russia and of France, and attributed 
this coolness to the intrigues of MM. de Marcoff and de Yo- 
ronzoff, who were both partisans of the English policy. The 
King's speech also announced war between England and 

On the same day, the 4th of February, the Senate having 
been assembled, M. de Talleyrand presented a report, very 


ably drawn up, in which he expounded the system of con- 
duct adopted by Bonaparte toward the English. He de- 
scribed it as a constant effort for peace, while entertaining 
no fear of war. He drew attention to the state of our prepa- 
rations which threatened the English coasts, many flotillas 
being equipped and ready in the harbors ; and to the army, 
large in numbers and high in heart. He gave an account of 
the means of defense which the enemy had gathered together 
on the coasts, and which proved that the landing of the 
French was not looked upon as impossible ; and, after be- 
stowing the highest praise on the conduct of the Emperor, 
he read to the assembled Senate the following letter, ad- 
dressed to the King of England : 


" Having been called by Providence, and by the voice of 
the Senate, the people, and the army, to the throne of France, 
my first feeling is a desire for peace. 

" France and England are wasting their prosperity. They 
may contend for centuries ; but are their Governments right- 
fully fulfilling their most sacred duty, and does not their con- 
science reproach them with so much blood shed in vain, for 
no definite end ? I am not ashamed to take the initiative. 
I have, I think, sufficiently proved to the whole world that I 
do not fear the chances of war. Indeed, war can bring me 
nothing to fear. Peace is my heartfelt wish, but war has 
never been adverse to my renown. I implore your Majesty 
not to deprive yourself of the happiness of bestowing peace 
on the world. Do not delegate so consolatory an action to 
your children. Never was there a better occasion, nor a 
more favorable moment for imposing silence on passion, and 
for listening only to the voice of humanity and reason. If 
this opportunity be lost, what term can be assigned to a war 
which all my endeavors might fail to terminate ? In the last 
ten years your Majesty's kingdom has increased in magnitude 
and wealth by more than the whole extent of Europe ; your 


nation has reached the highest point of prosperity. What 
do you hope to gain by war ? The coalition of some con- 
tinental powers ? The Continent will remain tranquil. A 
coalition would but increase the preponderance and the con- 
tinental greatness of France. To renew internal difficulties ? 
The times are no longer the same. To destroy our revenues ? 
Revenues founded on good husbandry are not to be destroyed. 
To snatch her colonies from France ? Colonies are objects 
of but secondary importance to France ; and does not your 
Majesty already possess more than you can keep ? If your 
Majesty will reflect on it, you will see that war will be with- 
out an object, without any probable result for yourself. Ah ! 
how sad a prospect is it to engage nations in war for war's 

" The world is large enough for our two nations to live 
in it, and the power of reason is sufficient to enable us to 
overcome all difficulties, if on both sides there is the will to 
do BO. In any case, I have fulfilled a duty which I hold to 
be righteous, and which is dear to my heart. I trust your 
Majesty will believe in the sincerity of the sentiments I have 
just expressed, and in my earnest desire to give you a proof 

of them. On this, etc. 

(Signed) " NAPOLEON. 

PAMS ji2Niv6se,yeari3. 

'( Id January, 1806." 

After having eulogized this letter (surely a remarkable 
one !) as a striking proof of Bonaparte's love for the French, 
of his desire for peace, and of his generous moderation, M. 
de Talleyrand communicated the reply of Lord Mulgrave, 
the Foreign Secretary. It was as follows : 

" His Majesty has received the letter addressed to him by 
the chief of the French Government, dated the 2d inst. 

" His Majesty has no dearer wish than to embrace the 
first opportunity of once more procuring for his subjects the 
advantages of a peace which shall be founded on bases not 


incompatible with, the permanent security and the essential 
interests of his States. His Majesty is convinced that this 
end can only be attained by an arrangement which will pro- 
vide alike for the future security and tranquillity of Europe, 
and prevent a renewal of the dangers and misfortunes which 
have beset the Continent. 

" His Majesty, therefore, feels it to be impossible to reply 
more decisively to the question which has been put to him, 
until he has had time to communicate with those continental 
Powers with whom he is allied, and particularly with the 
Emperor of Eussia, who has given the strongest proofs of 
his wisdom and good feeling, and of the deep interest which 
he takes in the security and independence of Europe. 

" Uth January, 1805." 

The vague and indefinite character of this thoroughly 
diplomatic reply exhibited the Emperor's letter to great 
advantage. That letter was firm in tone, and bore every 
appearance of magnanimous sincerity. It had, therefore, a 
good effect, and the various reports of those whose task it 
was to present it to the three great bodies of the State put it 
in the most favorable light. . 

The report of Kegnault de Saint-Jean d'Angely, Coun- 
cilor of State, is remarkable and interesting even now. The 
praises accorded to the Emperor, thpugh carried to excess, 
are finely phrased ; the picture of Europe is ably drawn ; 
that of the evil which war must entail on England is at least 
specious ; and, finally, the description of our prosperity at 
that period is impressive, and very little, if at all, exagger- 

"France," he said, "has nothing to ask from Heaven, but 
that the sun may continue to shine, the rain to fall on our 
fields, and the earth to render the seed fruitful." 

All this was true then, and, had a wise administration, a 
moderate government, and a liberal constitution been given to 
France, that prosperity would have been consolidated. But 


constitutional ideas formed no part of Bonaparte's plan. 
Perhaps he really believed, as he often said, that the French 
character and the geographical position of France were op- 
posed to representative government. Perhaps, conscious of 
his own strength and ability, he could not make up his mind 
to sacrifice to the future well-being of France those advan- 
tages which he believed he could give us by the mere strength 
of his will. Whatever was the case, he seldom lost an oppor- 
tunity of disparaging our neighbor's form of government. 

" The unfortunate position in which you have placed your 
nation," he wrote in the " Moniteur," addressing himself to 
the English Cabinet, " can only be explained by the ill for- 
tune of a State whose home policy is insecure, and whose 
Government is the wretched tool of Parliamentary factions 
and of a powerful oligarchy." 

Although he felt at times that he was opposing the spirit 
of the age, he believed himself strong enough to resist it. At 
a later period he said : " During my lifetime I shall reign as 
I please; but my son must perforce be a Liberal." And 
meanwhile he pictured to himself the creation of feudal states, 
believing that he could make them acceptable, and preserve 
them from the criticism which was beginning to assail ancient 
institutions, by establishing them on a scale so grand that, as 
our pride would be enlisted, our reason might be silenced. 
He believed that once again he could exhibit what history 
has already witnessed, the world subject to a " People-King," 
but that royalty was to be represented in his own person. 
A combination of Eastern and Roman institutions, bearing 
also some resemblance to the times of Charlemagne, was to 
transform the sovereigns of Europe into great feudatories of 
the French Empire ; and perhaps, if the sea had not effectu- 
ally preserved England from invasion, this gigantic project 
might have been carried out. 

Shortly after, the Emperor laid the foundation-stone of 
this brain-built edifice. I allude to the union of the Iron 
Crown with that of France. 


On the 17th of March M. de Melzi, Vice-President of the 
Italian Kepublic, accompanied by the principal members of 
the Council of State and a numerous deputation of presi- 
dents of the electoral colleges, deputies from the Corps Le- 
gislatif, and other important persons, was received by the 
Emperor on his throne, and submitted to him the ardent 
desire of the Council that he would graciously consent to 
reign over the ultramontane republic also. "Our present 
Government," said M. de Melzi, " can not continue, because 
it throws us behind the age in which we live. Constitution- 
al monarchy is everywhere indicated by the finger of progress. 

" The Italian Kepublic claims a King, and her interests 
demand that this King should be Napoleon, on the condition 
that the two crowns shall be united on his head only, and 
that, so soon as the Mediterranean is once more free, he will 
himself nominate a successor of his own blood." 

Bonaparte replied that he had always labored for the wel- 
fare of Italy ; that for this end he would accept the crown, 
because he believed that any other course would just now be 
fatal to her independence; and that afterward, when the 
time came for so doing, he would gladly place the Iron 
Crown on some younger head, as he should always be ready 
to sacrifice himself for the interests of the States over which 
he was called to reign. 

On the following day, the 18th of March, he proceeded 
to the Senate in state, and announced both the request of the 
Council and his own consent. M. de Melzi and all the Ital- 
ians took the oaths, and the Senate approved and applauded 
as usual. The Emperor concluded his speech by declaring 
that the genius of evil would seek in vain to rekindle the fire 
of war on the Continent ; that which had been united to the 
Empire would remain united. 

He doubtless foresaw that this event would be the occa- 
sion of an early war, at least with the Emperor of Austria, 
which, however, he was far from dreading. The army was 
becoming weary of inaction ; the invasion of England was * 


too perilous. It might be that favorable circumstances would 
render the landing possible, but how could the army main- 
tain its footing afterward in a country where reinforcement 
would be wellnigh impossible ? And, in case of failure, what 
would be the chances of retreat ? It may be observed, in 
the history of Bonaparte, that he always contrived to avoid 
a positively hopeless position as far as possible, and especial- 
ly for himself personally. A war, therefore, would serve his 
purpose by relieving him from this project of invasion, which, 
from the moment he renounced it, became ridiculous. 

During the same session, the State of Piombino was given 
to the Princess Elisa. On announcing this to the Senate, 
Bonaparte stated that the principality had been badly governed 
for several years ; that the interests of France were concerned, 
on account of the facilities which it offered for communica- 
tion with the Island of Elba and with Corsica ; and that the 
gift was not a token of special affection, but an act in accord- 
ance with a wise policy, with the splendor of the crown, and 
with the interests of nations. 

As a proof that these gifts of the Emperor were in the 
nature of fiefs, the Imperial decree was to the effect that the 
children of Mme. Bacciochi, on succeeding to their mother, 
should receive investiture from the Emperor of the French ; 
that they should not marry without his consent ; and that the 
Princess's husband, who was to assume the title of Prince of 
Piombino, should take the following oath : 

" I swear fidelity to the Emperor ; I promise to aid with 
my whole power the garrison of the Island of Elba ; and I 
declare that I will not cease, under any circumstances, to 
fulfill the duties of a good and faithful subject toward his 
Majesty the Emperor of the French." 

A few days after this the Pope solemnly baptized the 
second son of Louis Bonaparte, who was held at the font by 
his father and mother. This great ceremony took place at 
Saint Cloud. The park was illuminated on the occasion, 
and public games were provided for the people. In the 


evening there was a numerous reception, and a first perform- 
ance of " Athalie" at the theatre at Saint Cloud. 

Racine's great tragedy had not been performed since the 
Revolution. The Emperor, who admitted he had never been 
impressed by reading the play, was much struck by its repre- 
sentation, and repeated on that occasion that he greatly wished 
such a tragedy might be written during his own reign. He 
gave leave that it should be performed in Paris ; and thence- 
forth most of our great plays resumed their place on the 
stage, whence they had been prudently banished by the Rev- 

Some few lines, nevertheless, were cut out, lest applica- 
tion might be made of them to present circumstances. Luc 
de Lancival, the author of " Hector," and shortly afterward 
Esmenard, author of " Le Poeme de la Navigation," were in- 
trusted with the task of revising Corneille, Racine, and Vol- 
taire. But, with all due respect to these precautionary mea- 
sures of a too careful police, the missing lines, like the statues 
of Brutus and Cassius, were the more conspicuous by their 

In consequence of the momentous decision he had arrived 
at, the Emperor announced that he would speedily proceed 
to Italy, and fixed the epoch of his coronation for the month 
of May. He convened the Italian Legislature for the same 
date, and issued several decrees and ordinances relating to 
the new customs to be established in Italy. 

He also appointed ladies-in-waiting and chamberlains to 
attend on his mother ; and among others M. de Cosse-Brissac, 
who had solicited that favor. At the same time Prince Bor- 
ghese was declared a French citizen, and the ladies-in-waiting 
received an accession to their number in Mme. de Canisy, 
one of the most beautiful women of her time. 

Mme. Murat gave birth to a child just at this time ; she 

was then residing at the Hotel Thelusson, at the end of the 

Rue d'Artois. It was observed on this occasion that the 

luxuriousness of the new Princesses was continually on the 



increase, and yet it had not then reached the height which it 
afterward attained. Mine. Murat's bedchamber was hung 
with pink satin, the bed and window curtains were of the 
same material, and these hangings were trimmed with broad 
and very fine lace, instead of fringe. 

The preparations for the Emperor's departure soon occu- 
pied us exclusively. This event was fixed for the 2d of 
April, when the Pope was also to leave Paris ; and a few 
days previously M. de Remusat started for Milan, in charge 
of the regalia and the crown diamonds, which were to be 
used at the coronation. This was for me the beginning of 
troubles, which were destined to recur for some years. I had 
never before been separated from my husband, and I was so 
much accustomed to the enjoyments of my home that I found 
it hard to be deprived of them. It made the Court life to 
which I was condemned more irksome, and was very pain- 
ful to my husband also, who, like myself, fell into the error 
of letting his feelings be perceived. I have already said 
that a courtier is a failure if he suffer any feelings to 
divert his attention from the minutiae which constitute his 

My distress at my husband's departure on a journey which 
seemed to me so long, and even dangerous for my imagina- 
tion exaggerated everything regarding him made me desir- 
ous that he should be accompanied by a friend of ours, named 
Salembemi, who had formerly been an officer in the navy. 
He was badly off had only the salary of some small appoint- 
ment to live on, with what M. de Kemusat, who employed 
him as his secretary, paid him. To him I confided the care 
of my husband's health. He was a clever man, but difficult 
to deal with, somewhat malicious, and of a peevish temper. 
He was the cause of more than one of our troubles, and this 
is why I now make mention of him.* 

* M. Salembemi, who had a ready pen, wrote freely from Italy, and dwelt 
rather on the scandals of the Court than on politics. His letters were opened 
and shown to the Emperor, who ordered him to leave within twenty -four hours. 


My delicate health made it impossible to include me in 
the suite. The Empress seemed to regret this. As for my- 
self, I was, on the whole, glad of a rest after the busy life I 
had been leading, and happy to remain with my mother and 
my children.* 

Mesdames de la Rochefoucauld, d'Arberg, de Serrant, 
and Savary, a considerable number of chamberlains, the great 
officers, and, in short, a numerous and youthful Court, ac- 
companied the Empress. The Emperor started on the 2d, 
and the Pope on the 4th of April. At every stage of his 
journey to Home his Holiness received tokens of great re- 
spect ; and he then, no doubt, believed he was bidding adieu 
to France for ever. 

Murat remained as Governor of Paris, and with a charge 
of superintendence which he extended over everything ; but 
his reports, I think, were not always disinterested. Fouche, 
who was more liberal, if I may use the expression, in the 
exercise of his police functions, and who was well entitled 
to consider himself necessary, carried things with rather a 

His disgrace caused some vexation to my grandfather. Although a certain con- 
straint may be observed in the correspondence of the author of these Memoirs, 
and many phrases are inserted for the purpose of contenting a jealous master, 
it is probable that the letters of the husband and wife were also regarded as too 
free in expression for courtiers. We know that the hateful custom of opening 
letters was transmitted from the First to the Second Empire ; and it is a curious 
coincidence that, on the 4th of September, 1870, a letter addressed to my father 
by my mother was discovered in a drawer of the writing-table of the Emperor 
Napoleon III. That letter was, however, evidently written without any fear of 
the post-office. P. R. 

* My grandmother, whose health had always been delicate, now began to be 
seriously indisposed, and unable for any exertion. Her disposition became in- 
fluenced by this. She lost none of her goodness, but her composure, serenity, 
and gayety failed her. She suffered frequently from nervous attacks, which, 
together with her naturally vivid imagination, rendered her more liable to dis- 
quiet and melancholy. The journey undertaken by her husband, although dif- 
fering so much from the dangerous exploits of the time, and, in fact, little more 
than a pleasure-trip, troubled her to a degree which can hardly be believed now- 
adays, and astonished even the most romantic women of a period so far removed 
from ours. A worldly life, and especially a Court life, became more and more 
distasteful to her. 


high hand, but was conciliatory to all parties, according to 
his system of making himself useful to everybody. 

The Arch-Chancellor Cambaceres also remained as Di- 
rector of the Council of State an office of which he acquit- 
ted himself well and to do the honors of Paris. He re- 
ceived a good deal of company, welcoming them with a 
gloomy civility which gave him an almost ridiculous air. 

Paris and France were at that time in repose ; all things 
seemed to work together for order, and the general state of 
subjection to be complete. The Emperor went first to Cham- 
pagne. He passed a day at the fine old chateau of Brienne, in 
order that he might visit the scenes of his childhood. Mme. 
de Brienne professed extreme enthusiasm for him, and, as 
worship was not displeasing to him, he behaved to her with 
great amiability. It was amusing, just then, to see some of 
her kinsfolk at Paris receiving the lively letters she wrote 
to them on this Imperial visit. However, as she described 
events, these letters produced a good effect in what we call 
here " good society." Success is easy to the powerful ; they 
must needs be very ill-natured or very blundering when they 
fail to please. 

A few days after all these grand departures, the follow- 
ing paragraph appeared in the "Moniteur": "Monsieur 
Jerome Bonaparte has arrived at Lisbon, on board an Ameri- 
can vessel. Among the passengers are Mr. and Miss Patter- 
son. M. Je*rome immediately took the post for Madrid. 
Mr. and Miss Patterson have reembarked. It is understood 
that they have returned to America." * I believe that they 
crossed to England.f 

* The Emperor announced the return of his brother to the Minister of the 
Admiralty, Vice-Admiral DScres, in the following terms : 

" MILAN, 23d FlorSal, year 13 (13th May, 1805). 

" M. J6r6me has arrived. Mademoiselle Patterson has returned to America. 
He has owned his fault, and does not recognize this person as his wife. He 
promises miracles of good behavior. Meanwhile I have sent him to Genoa for 
some time." P. R. f See Appendix. 


This Mr. Patterson was no other than the father-in-law 
of Jerome, who, having fallen in love while in America with 
the daughter of an American merchant, had made her his 
wife, persuading himself that, after some displeasure on his 
brother's part, he should obtain his forgiveness. But Bona- 
parte, who was already forming other projects for his family, 
was highly incensed, annulled the marriage, and forced his 
brother to an immediate separation. Jerome traveled to 
Italy, and joined him at Turin, but was very badly received. 
He was ordered to join one of our fleets then cruising in the 
Mediterranean, remained at sea for a considerable time, and 
was not restored to favor until several months afterward. 

Throughout all France the Emperor was welcomed with 
genuine enthusiasm. He staid at Lyons, where he secured 
the good will of the traders by issuing decrees favorable to 
their interests. He crossed Mont Cenis and remained a few 
days at Turin. 

Meanwhile M. de Kemusat had reached Milan, where he 
met Prince Eugene, who received him with his characteristic 
cordiality. The Prince questioned my husband as to what 
had taken place in Paris since he had left that city, and suc- 
ceeded in eliciting some details concerning Mme. de X 

which were very grievous to his feelings. M. de Remusat 
wrote to me that, pending the arrival of the Court, he was 
leading a tolerably quiet life. He explored Milan, which 
seemed to him a dull town, and its palace was dull also. 
The inhabitants showed little affection for the French. The 
nobles shut themselves up in their houses, under the pretext 
that they were not rich enough to do the honors of the place 
in a fitting style. Prince Eugene endeavored to collect them 
about him, but succeeded imperfectly. The Italians, still in 
a state of suspense, did not know whether to rejoice or re- 
pine at the novel destiny which we forced upon them. 

M. de Remusat sent me at this period some rather curious 
details of the life of the Milanese. Their ignorance of all 
that constitutes agreeable society ; the absolute non-existence 


among them of family life, the husbands, strangers to their 
wives, leaving them to the care of a cavaliere servente the 
dullness of the theatres ; the darkness of the house, whither 
people go in morning-dress, to occupy themselves in the 
nearly closed boxes with anything rather than listening to 
the opera; the want of variety in the performances; the 
difference between the costumes and those of France all 
these things gave M. de Remusat matter for remarks, which 
were all to the advantage of our beloved country, while they 
also increased his desire to return to France and to me. 

During this time the Emperor was revisiting the scenes 
of his former victories. He held a grand review on the 
battle-field of Marengo, and distributed crosses on that occa- 
sion. The troops who had been massed together on the 
pretext of this review, and remained afterward in the neigh- 
borhood of the Adige, furnished a reason or pretext on 
which the Austrian Government strengthened their already 
very powerful line of defense behind this river ; and French 
policy took offense at these precautions. 

On the 9th of May the Emperor reached Milan. His 
presence caused great excitement in the town, and the cir- 
cumstances attending the coronation aroused the same ambi- 
tion as they had caused in Paris. The highest nobles of 
Milan began to long for the new distinctions and the advan- 
tages appertaining to them ; independence and unity of gov- 
ernment were held out to the Italians, and they gave them- 
selves up to the hopes they were allowed to conceive. 

Immediately on the arrival of the Court at Milan, I was 
struck by the dismal tone of M. de Remusat's letters, and 
soon afterward I learned that he was suffering from his 
master's displeasure. The naval officer of whom I have 
spoken, a satirical spectator of what was going on at Milan, 
having taken it into his head to write to Paris some lively 
and rather sarcastic accounts of what was passing before his 
eyes, his letters had been opened, and M. de Remusat was 
ordered to send him back to Paris. He was not at first told 


the reason for this order, and it was only at a later period 
that he learned its cause. The displeasure of the Emperor 
was not confined to the secretary ; it fell also on him who 
had brought him to Italy. 

Besides this, Prince Eugene let fall some of the details he 
had obtained in confidence from my husband ; and, finally, 
it was discovered from our letters, as I have said before, that 
our thoughts and aspirations were not entirely centered in 
the interests of our places at Court. These causes were suf- 
ficient to anger a master who was by nature irascible ; and 
so, according to his custom of using men for his own advan- 
tage when they could be useful to him, whatever might be 
his feelings toward them, he exacted from my husband a 
service of the most rigid punctuality, because the length of 
time M. de Kemusat had passed at Court had given him ex- 
perience in a ceremonial which daily became more minute, 
and to which the Emperor attached greater importance. At 
the same time he treated him with harshness and severity, 
repeating continually to those who, with good reason, would 
praise the high and estimable qualities of my husband, 
" All that you say may be true, but he does not belong to 
me as I wish him to belong to me." This reproach was al- 
ways on his lips during the years we passed in his service, 
and perhaps there is some merit in our never having ceased 
to deserve it. 

This Court life, so busy and yet so idle, gave M. de Tal- 
leyrand and M. de Remusat an opportunity of becoming bet- 
ter acquainted, and was the beginning of an intimacy which 
at a later period caused me many and various emotions. 

The fine tact of M. de Talleyrand discerned the right- 
mindedness and the keenness of observation of my husband ; 
they agreed on a multitude of subjects, and the difference 
of their dispositions did not prevent them from enjoying 
an interchange of ideas. One day M. de Talleyrand said 
to M. de Remusat : " I can see that you distrust me, and I 
know whence your caution proceeds. "We serve a master 


who does not like intimacies. When he appointed us both 
to the same service, he foresaw there might be friendship 
between us. You are a clever man, and that is enough to 
make him wish that you and I should remain apart. He 
therefore prejudiced you in some way against me, and he 
also tried, by I know not what reports, to put me on my 
guard. It will not be his fault if we do not remain stran- 
gers to one another. This is one of his weaknesses, and we 
must recognize, indulge, and excuse, without, however, sub- 
mitting to it." This straightforward way of speaking, en- 
hanced by the graceful manner which M. de Talleyrand 
knows so well how to assume when he likes, pleased my 
husband, who, moreover, found in this friendship something 
to make up for the weariness of his post.* 

At this period M. de K6musat perceived that M. de 
Talleyrand, who had the influence over Bonaparte of his 
utility, felt considerable jealousy of Fouche, whom he dis- 
liked. He entertained a positive contempt for M. Maret, 
and gratified it by the biting sarcasm in which he habitually 
indulged, and which few could escape. Although under no 
delusion regarding Bonaparte, he nevertheless served him 
well ; for he tried to restrain his passions by the position in 

* This mutual distrust between his Great Chamberlain and his First Cham- 
berlain, originated and kept up by the Emperor, was slow in dying out ; and, 
notwithstanding the good will of both, no real intimacy existed between them 
until the following year, during the tour in Germany. After the first advances 
had been made by M. de Talleyrand, my grandfather wrote to his wife in the 
following terms, in a letter dated Milan, 17th Flore"al, year 13 (7th May, 1805): 
"M. de Talleyrand has been here for the last week. It only depends on my- 
self to believe him my best friend. In words he seems friendship itself. I 
often go to see him. He takes my arm whenever he happens to meet me, and 
talks with me in a low voice for two or three hours at a time ; he tells me vari- 
ous things which have every appearance of being confidential, interests himself 
in my career, talks to me about it, and wants me to be distinguished among all 
the other Chamberlains. Tell me, my dear one, am I really held in esteem, or 
does he want to play me a trick ? " Shortly after this, his language completely 
changed, and the friendship became intimate and affectionate on both sides. 
P. R. 


which he placed him, both with respect to foreign affairs and 
in France; and he also advised him to create certain insti- 
tutions which would control him. The Emperor, who, as I 
have said, liked to create, and who seized rapidly upon any- 
thing novel and impressive, would follow the advice of M. 
de Talleyrand, and, in concert with him, would lay the foun- 
dation of some useful enterprise. But afterward his domi- 
neering temper, his suspicion, his dread of finding himself 
restrained, made him afraid of the action of that which he 
had himself created, and, with sudden caprice, he would 
abruptly suspend or relinquish the work he had begun. M. 
de Talleyrand was provoked by this ; but, as he was naturally 
indolent and careless, and did not possess in himself those 
qualities of strength and perseverance which enable a man to 
carry his points in detail, he usually ended by neglecting and 
abandoning the fatiguing task of solicitude and superinten- 
dence. The sequence of events will, however, explain all this 
better than I can in this place. 

Meantime, war broke out between England and Spain, 
and we were frequently, sometimes successfully, engaged at 
sea. A fleet which sailed out from Toulon found means to 
join the Spanish squadron, and the press exulted loudly over 
this feat.* 

On the 30th of May Bonaparte was crowned King of 
Italy, with great pomp. The ceremony was similar to that 
which had taken place in Paris. The Empress sat in a gal- 
lery and beheld the spectacle. M. de Eemusat told me that 
a thrill of emotion passed over the crowd in the church at 
the moment when Bonaparte, taking hold of the Iron Crown, 
and placing it on his head, uttered in a threatening voice the 
antique formula, " H cielo me la diede, guai a chi la toc- 
cherd ! " The remainder of the Emperor's stay at Milan was 
divided between attending fetes and issuing decrees for the 

* This passage refers to the achievement of Admiral Villeneuve, who, hav- 
ing set sail on the 30th of March, contrived to get clear of the port of Toulon 
without encountering the English fleet. P. R. 


regulation and administration of his new kingdom. Rejoic- 
ings took place all over France in honor of the event ; and 
yet it caused great apprehension among many people, who 
foresaw that war with Austria would result from it. 

On the 4th of June the Doge of Genoa arrived at Milan. 
He came to beg that his Republic might be united to the 
Empire ; and this action, which had been concerted or com- 
manded beforehand, was made the occasion of a grand recep- 
tion and state ceremony. That portion of Italy was at once 
divided into new departments, and shortly afterward the new 
constitution was sent to the Italian Legislature, and Prince 
Eugene was made Viceroy of the kingdom. The order of 
the Iron Crown was created; and, the distributions being 
made, the Emperor left Milan and set out on a journey 
which, under the appearance of a pleasure-trip, was in reality 
undertaken for the purpose of reconnoitering the Austrian 
forces on the line of the Adige. 

By the treaty of Campo Formio Bonaparte had aban- 
doned the Venetian States to the Emperor of Austria, and 
the latter thus became a formidable neighbor to the king- 
dom of Italy. On his arrival at Verona, he received a visit 
from Baron Vincent, who commanded the Austrian garrison 
in that portion of the town which belonged to his sovereign. 
The Baron was commissioned to inform himself of the state 
of our forces in Italy ; the Emperor, on his part, observing 
those of the foreigner. On inspecting the banks of the 
Adige, he perceived that forts would have to be constructed 
for the defense of the river ; but, on calculating the neces- 
sary time and expense, he said that it would be better and 
quicker to push the Austrians back from that frontier alto- 
gether. From that moment we may believe that he had 
resolved upon the war which was declared some months 

It was impossible that the Emperor of Austria should 
regard with indifference the acquisition by France of so 
much power in Italy ; and the English Government, which 


was making great efforts to stir up a continental war against 
us, skillfully availed itself of the uneasiness of the Emperor 
of Austria, and the dissatisfaction which was by degrees 
impairing the cordiality of our relations with Russia. The 
English newspapers hastened to assert that the Emperor had 
held a review of his troops in Italy for the sole purpose of 
putting them on the footing of a formidable enemy ; and 
thenceforth movements began in the Austrian army. Those 
appearances of peace which were still observed up to the 
time of the rupture were in reality preparations by both 
Emperors, who at that period had become almost declared 



FStes at Verona and Genoa Cardinal Maury My Eetired Life in the Country^- 
Mme. Louis Bonaparte " Les Templiers " The Emperor's Eeturn His 
Amusements The Marriage of M. de Talleyrand War is declared. 

THE Emperor visited Cremona, Yerona, Mantua, Bo- 
logna, Modena, Parma, and Piacenza, and then went to 
Genoa, where he was received with enthusiasm. He sent 
for Le Brun, the Arch-Treasurer, to whom he intrusted the 
task of superintending the new administration to be estab- 
lished in that city. At Genoa also he parted with his sister 
Elisa, who had accompanied him on his journey, and to 
whom he gave the little Republic of Lucca, adding to it the 
States of Piombino. At this period the French began once 
more to wear foreign decorations. Prussian, Bavarian, and 
Spanish orders were sent to the Emperor, to be distributed 
by him at his pleasure. He divided them among his great 
officers, some of his ministers, and a few of his marshals. 

At Yerona a fight between dogs and bulls was given, for 
the entertainment of the Emperor, in the ancient amphi- 
theatre, which contained forty thousand spectators. Loud 
applause greeted his arrival, and he was really affected by 
this reception, rendered impressive by the place, and by the 
magnitude of the crowd. The fetes at Genoa were very 
magnificent. Floating gardens were constructed on huge 
flat barges; these gardens led to a floating temple, which, 
approaching the land, received Bonaparte and his Court. 
Then the barges, which were all fastened together, were set 


in motion, and the Emperor found himself on a beautiful 
island in the middle of the harbor, whence he had a com- 
plete view of Genoa, and of the simultaneous displays of 
fireworks from various parts of the splendidly illuminated 

M. de Talleyrand found amusement entirely to his taste 
during his stay at Genoa ; for he was always pleased to de- 
tect an absurdity and to point it out to others. Cardinal 
Maury, who had retired to Home since his emigration, had 
gained a great reputation there by the firmness of his atti- 
tude in our famous Constituent Assembly. Nevertheless, 
he was desirous of returning to France, and M. de Talley- 
rand wrote to him from Genoa, advising him to come at 
once and present himself to the Emperor. The Cardinal 
acted upon this, and, immediately assuming that obsequious 
attitude which he has ever since scrupulously retained, he 
entered Genoa, loudly proclaiming that he had come to see 
" the great man." 

He obtained an audience. " The great man " took his 
measure very quickly, and, while esteeming him at his proper 
value, resolved to make him give a complete contradiction 
to his past conduct. He gained him over easily by flatter- 
ing him a little, and induced him to return to France, where 
we have since seen him play a somewhat ridiculous part. 
M. de Talleyrand, whose recollections of the Constituent 
Assembly were not effaced, took many opportunities of 
wreaking a petty revenge upon the Cardinal, by bringing 
out his silly sycophancy in the most skillful and cunning 

While the Emperor was thus traveling through Italy and 
consolidating his power, and everybody around him was get- 
ting tired of the continual full-dress parade at which he kept 
his Court ; while the Empress, happy in the elevation of her 
son, and yet grieved by her separation from him, amused 
herself and distracted her mind by the perpetual fetes given 
in her honor, and took pleasure in exhibiting her magnificent 


jewels and her elegant costumes, I was leading a quiet and 
pleasant life in the valley of Montmorency, at the house of 
Mme. d'Houdetot. I have already mentioned this amiable 
and accomplished woman. Her recollections enabled me to 
reconstruct in my imagination those days of which she loved 
to talk. It gave me great pleasure to hear her speak of the 
famous philosophers whom she had known, and whose ways 
and sayings she remembered so clearly. I was so full of the 
" Confessions " of Jean Jacques Rousseau that I was not a 
little surprised to find her somewhat cold in her appreciation 
of him; and I may say, in passing, that the opinion of 
Mme. d'Houdetot, who would, I should think, have re- 
garded Rousseau with exceptional indulgence, contributed 
not a little to make me distrust his character, and believe 
that he was only great in point of talent.* 

During the absence of the Court, Paris was quiet and 
dull. The Imperial family were living in the country. I 
sometimes saw Mme. Louis Bonaparte at Saint Leu, a place 
which her husband had just bought. Louis appeared to oc- 
cupy himself exclusively with his garden. His wife wa-s 
lonely, ill, and always afraid of letting some word at which 
he might be offended escape her. She had not ventured 
either to rejoice at the elevation of Prince Eugene or to 
weep for his absence, which was, of course, indefinite. She 
wrote to him seldom and briefly, because she knew that the 
privacy of her letters was not respected. On one occasion, 
when I was visiting her, she told me a rumor had arisen 
that the Due de Polignac and his brother, who were im- 
prisoned in the Chateau of Ham, had attempted to escape ; 
that they had been transferred to the Temple ; and that 
Mme. Bonaparte and myself were accused of being con- 
cerned in the affair. This accusation, of which Mme. Louis 
suspected Murat to be the author, was utterly unfounded. 
Mme. Bonaparte never gave a thought to the two prisoners, 
and I had entirely lost sight of the Duchesse de Polignac. 

* For a note on this passage by M. Paul de Remusat, see Appendix. 


I lived in the strictest retirement, so that my solitude 
might supply a sufficient answer to any gossip concerning 
my conduct ; but I was more and more distressed by the 
necessity for taking such precautions, and especially at being 
unable to use the position in which I was placed for any pur- 
poses of utility to the Emperor, to myself, or to those per- 
sons who wished to obtain certain favors from him through 
me. There was no want of kindness in my natural disposi- 
tion ; and, besides that, I felt a degree of pride, which I do 
not think was misplaced, in serving those who had formerly 
blamed me, and in silencing their criticisms of my conduct 
by favors which could not be said to lack generosity. I also 
believed that the Emperor might win many persons who now 
held aloof, by the permission which he had granted me to 
bring their solicitations and their necessities under his atten- 
tion ; and as I was still attached to him, although he inspired 
me with more fear than formerly, I would have gained all 
hearts for him had it been possible. But, as it became evi- 
dent that my plan was not always approved by him, I found 
I had to think of defending myself, rather than assisting 

My reflections were occasionally very sad. At other 
times I could make up my mind to the difficulties of my 
position, and resolve that I would only look at the agreeable 
side of it. I enjoyed a certain consideration in society, and 
I liked that ; and we were fairly prosperous, though not free 
from the difficulties which always beset persons whose for- 
tunes have no secure basis, and whose expenses are obliga- 
tory. But I was young, and I thought little of the future. 
I was surrounded by pleasant society ; my mother was per- 
fection to me, my husband most kind and good, my eldest 
son all I could wish. I lived on the pleasantest terms with 
my kind and charming sister. All this turned away my 
thoughts from the Court, and enabled me to bear the draw- 
backs of my position patiently. My health was a perpetual 
trial to me ; it was always delicate, and an unquiet life was 


evidently injurious. I must not, however, dwell upon my- 
self ; I do not know how I have been tempted into doing so. 
If ever this narrative should be read by others, as well as by 
my son, all this ought to be suppressed without hesitation.* 

During the Emperor's sojourn in Italy, two plays had a 
great success at the Comedie Francaise. The first was " Le 
Tartufe des Mceurs," translated, or rather adapted, from 
Sheridan's " School for Scandal," by M. Cheron ; the second 
was " Les Templiers." M. Che'ron had been a deputy to the 
Legislative Assembly. He married a niece of the Abbe 
Morellet; his wife and himself were intimate friends of 
mine. The Abbe had written to the Emperor to solicit a 
place for M. Cheron ; and, on Bonaparte's return, " Le Tar- 
tufe des Mceurs " was acted before him. He was so much 
amused by the play that, having ascertained the name of its 
author from M. de Remusat, and also learned that M. Cheron 
was well deserving of employment, he, in a moment of easy 
good nature, sent him to Poitiers as Prefect. Unfortunately, 
he died there three years afterward. His widow is a most 
estimable and talented person. 

M. de Fontanes had read " Les Templiers " to Bonaparte, 
who approved of some portions of the piece, but objected to 
others. He wished to have certain corrections made, but 
the author refused, and the Emperor was annoyed. He was 
by no means pleased that " Les Templiers " had a brilliant 
success, and set himself against both the play and the author, 
with a petty despotism which was characteristic of him when- 
either persons or things incurred his displeasure. All this 
happened when he came back.f 

* Notwithstanding the above injunction, my readers will not be surprised 
that I have retained these personal details, which lend a particular interest to 
the narrative. P. R. 

f It was not until his return to Paris that the Emperor displayed the ill 
humor which the Memoirs record. On the 1st of June, 1805, he wrote from 
Milan to M. Fouche as follows : " It seems to me that the success of ' Les 
Templiers' leads the people to dwell upon this point of French history. That 
is well, but I do not think it would be wise to allow pieces taken from historical 


Bonaparte expected that his wishes and his opinions 
should be accepted as rules. He had taken a fancy to the 
music of " Les Bardes," an opera by Lesueur, and he was 
almost angry thaf the Parisian public did not think as highly 
of it as he did. 

The Emperor came direct from Genoa to Paris. This 
was to be his last sight of fair Italy, that land in which he 
seemed to have exhausted every mode of impressing the 
minds of men, as a general, as a pacificator, and as a sover- 
eign. He returned by Mont Cenis, and gave orders for 
great works which, like those of the Simplon Pass, should 
facilitate the communications between the two nations. The 
Court was increased in number by several Italian noblemen 
and ladies who were attached to it. The Emperor had al- 
ready appointed some Belgians as additional chamberlains, 
and the obsequiorus forms in which he was addressed were 
now uttered in widely varying accents. 

He arrived at Fontainebleau on the llth of July, and 
went thence to reside at Saint Cloud. Shortly after, the 
" Moniteur " began to bristle with notes, announcing in al- 
most threatening language the storm which was so soon to 
burst over Europe. Certain expressions which occurred 
from time to time in these notes revealed the author who 
had dictated them. One of these in particular made an im- 
pression on my memory. It. had been stated in the English 
newspapers that a supposed genealogy of the Bonaparte 
family, which retraced its nobility to an ancient origin, had 

subjects of a period too close to our own times to be acted. I read in a news- 
paper that it is proposed to act a tragedy on the subject of Henry IV. That 
epoch is near enough to ours to arouse popular passions. The stage requires 
antiquity, and, without restricting the theatre too much, I think you ought to 
prevent this, but not to allow your interference to appear. You might speak of 
it to M. Raynouard, who seems to be a man of ability. Why should you not 
induce him to write a tragedy upon the transition from the first to the second 
line [from Valois to Bourbon] ? Instead of being a tyrant, he who should suc- 
ceed to that would be the saviour of the nation. The oratorio of 'Saul' is no 
other than this ; it is a great man succeeding a degenerate king." 


been printed in London. " Researches of this kind are pur- 
poseless," said the note. " To all those who may ask from 
what period dates the house of Bonaparte, there is a ready 
answer : < It dates from the 18th Brumaire.' ' 

I met the Emperor after his return with mingled feelings. 
It was difficult not to be affected by his presence, but it was 
painful to me to feel that my emotion was tempered by the 
distrust with which he was beginning to inspire me.* The 
Empress received me in a most friendly manner, and I avowed 
to her quite frankly the trouble that was on my mind. I ex- 
pressed my surprise that no past proof of devotedness or dis- 
interested service could avail with her husband against a 
sudden prejudice. She repeated my words to him, and he 
well^ understood what they meant; but he persisted in his 
own definition of what he called devotedness, which was an 
entire surrender of one's being, of one's sentiments and one's 
opinions, and repeated that we ought to give up all our for- 
mer habits, in order to have only one thought, that of his 
interest and his will. He promised, in recompense for this 
exaction, that we should be raised to a great height of rank 
and fortune, and have everything that could gratify our pride. 
" I will give them," said he, speaking of us, " enough to en- 
able them to laugh at those who find fault with them now ; 
and, if they will break with my enemies, I will put their ene- 
mies under their feet." Apart from this, I had but little 
annoyance in the household, and my position was easy enough, 
as Bonaparte's mind was fixed on important affairs during his 
stay in France before the campaign of Austerlitz. 

A circumstance recurs to my memory at this moment, 
which is only important because it serves to depict this 
strange man. I therefore give it a place here. The despot- 
ism of his will grew in proportion to the enlargement of the 
circle with which he surrounded himself ; he wanted to be 
the sole arbiter of reputations, to make them and to unmake 
them at his pleasure. He branded a man or blighted a woman 

* For a fuller explanation of this passage, see Appendix. 


for a word, without any kind of hesitation ; but he was much 
displeased that the public should venture to observe and to 
comment on the conduct of either the one or the other, if 
he had placed them within the rays of the aureole with which 
he surrounded himself. 

During his journey in Italy, the idleness of life in palaces 
and its opportunities had given rise to several gallant adven- 
tures on his part, which were more or less serious, and these 
had been duly reported in France, where they fed the general 
appetite for gossip. One day, when several ladies of the 
Court among them those who had been in Italy were 
breakfasting with the Empress, Bonaparte came suddenly 
into the room, and, leaning on the back of his wife's chair, 
addressed to one and another of us a few words, at first in- 
significant enough. Then he began to question us about 
what we were all doing, and let us know, but only by hints, 
that some among us were considerably talked of by the pub- 
lic. The Empress, who knew her husband's ways, and was 
aware that, when talking in this manner, he was apt to go 
very far, tried to interrupt him ; but the Emperor, persisting 
in the conversation, presently gave it an exceedingly embar- 
rassing turn. " Yes, ladies, you occupy the attention of the 
worthy inhabitants of the Faubourg St. Germain. They say, 

for instance, that you, Mme. , have a liaison with M. 

; that you, Mme. ." And so he went on, address- 
ing himself to three or four ladies in succession. The effect 
upon us all of such an attack may easily be imagined. The 
Emperor was amused by the confusion into which he threw 
us. " But," added he, " you need not suppose that I approve 
of talk of this kind. To attack my Court is to attack myself, 
and I do not choose that a word shall be said, either of me, 
or of my family, or of my Court." While thus speaking, his 
countenance, which had previously been smiling, darkened, 
and his voice became extremely harsh. He then burst out 
violently against that section of Parisian society which was 
still rebellious, declaring that he would exile every woman 


who should say a word against any lady-in-waiting ; and he 
proceeded to work himself into a violent passion upon this 
text, which he had entirely to himself, for not a single one 
of us attempted to make him an answer. The Empress at 
length rose from the table in order to terminate this un- 
pleasant scene, and the general movement put an end to it. 
The Emperor left the room as suddenly as he had come in. 
One of our ladies, a sworn admirer of everything that Bona- 
parte said and did, began to expatiate upon the kindness of 
such a master, who desired that our reputation should be held 

a sacred thing. But Mme. de , a very clever woman, 

answered her impatiently, "Yes, madame, let the Emperor 
only defend us once again in that fashion, and we are lost." x 

Bonaparte was greatly surprised when the Empress rep- 
resented to him the absurdity of this : scene, and he always 
insisted that we ought to have been grateful for the readi- 
ness with which he took offense when we were attacked. 

During his stay at Saint Cloud he worked incessantly, 
and issued a great number of decrees relative to the adminis- 
tration of the new departments he had acquired in Italy. 
He also augmented his Council of State, to which he gave 
more influence from day to day, because he was quite sure 
of having it completely under his authority. He showed 
himself at the Opera, and was well received by the Parisians, 
whom, however, he still thought cold in comparison with the 
people of the provinces. He led a busy and laborious life, 
sometimes allowing himself the recreation of hunting ; but 
he walked out for one hour a day only, and received com- 
pany on but one day in each week. On that day the Come- 
die Francaise came to Saint Cloud, and acted tragedies or 
comedies in a very pretty theatre which had been recently 
built. Then began the difficulties of M. de Eemusat in pro- 
viding amusement for him whom Talleyrand called "the 
Unamusable." In vain were the masterpieces of our theatri- 
cal repertoire performed ; in vain did our best actors strive 
their very best to please him : he generally appeared at these 


representations preoccupied and weighed down by the gravity 
of his thoughts. He laid the blame of his own want of at- 
tention to the play on his First Chamberlain, on Corneille, 
on Racine, or on the actors. He liked Talma's acting, or 
rather Talma himself there had been some sort of acquaint- 
ance between them during his obscure youth ; he gave him 
a great deal of money, and received him familiarly; but 
even Talma could not succeed in interesting him. Just like 
an invalid, who blames others for the state of his own health, 
he was angry with those who could enjoy the pleasures that 
passed him by; and he always thought that by scolding and 
worrying he should get something invented which would 
succeed in amusing him. The man who was intrusted with 
Bonaparte's pleasures was very seriously to be pitied ; unfor- 
tunately for us, M. de Remusat was the man, and I can not 
describe what he had to bear. 

At this time the Emperor was still flattering himself that 
he would be able to gain some naval triumphs over the Eng- 
lish. The united French and Spanish fleets made several 
efforts, and an attempt was made to defend the colonies. 
Admiral Kelson, pursuing us everywhere, no doubt -upset 
the greater part of our plans; but this was carefully con- 
cealed, and our newspapers taught us to believe that we 
were beating the English every day. It is likely that the 
project of the invasion was abandoned. The English Gov- 
ernment was raising up formidable enemies for us upon the 
Continent. The Emperor of Russia, who was young and 
naturally inclined to independence, was perhaps already 
tempted to resent the preponderance that our Emperor de- 
sired to exercise, and some of his ministers were suspected 
of favoring the English policy, which aimed at making him 
our enemy. The peace with Austria held only by a thread. 
The King of Prussia alone seemed resolved to maintain his 
alliance with us. "Why," said a note in the "Moniteur," 
" while the Emperor of Russia exercises his influence upon 
the Porte, should he object to that of France being exer- 


cised upon certain portions of Italy ? When with Herschel's 
telescope he observes from the terrace of his palace that 
which passes between the Emperor of the French and a few 
Apennine populations, why should he exact that the Em- 
peror of the French shall not see what is passing in the an- 
cient empire of Solyman, and what is happening in Persia ? 
It is the fashion to accuse France of ambition, and yet how 
great has been her past moderation," etc., etc. 

In the month of August the Emperor set out for Bou- 
logne. It was no longer his purpose to inspect the flotillas, 
but he intended to review that numerous army encamped in 
the north, which before long he was destined to set in mo- 
tion. During his absence the Empress made an excursion 
to the baths of Plombieres. I think I shall usefully employ 
this interval of leisure by retracing my steps, in order to 
mention certain particulars concerning M. de Talleyrand 
which I have hitherto omitted. 

Talleyrand, who had come back to France some time be- 
fore, was appointed " Minister of External Relations " through 
the influence of Mme. de Stael, who induced Barms, the 
Director, to select him for that post.* It was under the 
Directory that he made the acquaintance of Mme. Grand. 
Although she was no longer in her first youth, this lady, who 
was born in the East Indies, was still remarkable for her 
beauty. She wished to go to England, where her husband 
resided, and she applied to M. de Talleyrand for a passport. 
Her beauty and her visit produced, apparently, such an effect 
upon him that either the passport was not given, or it re- 
mained unused. Mme. Grand remained in Paris ; shortly 
afterward she was observed to frequent the " Hotel of Ex- 
ternal Belations," and after a while she took up her abode 
there. Meanwhile, Bonaparte was First Consul ; his victo- 
ries and his treaties had brought the ambassadors of the first 
Powers in Europe and a crowd of other foreigners to Paris. 

*0n the 15th of July, 1797. He had returned to France in September, 
1795. P. R. 


Persons who were obliged by their position to frequent M. 
de Talleyrand's society accepted the presence of Mme. Grand, 
who did the honors of his table and his salon with a good 
grace ; but they were somewhat surprised at the weakness 
which had consented to put so prominently forward a woman 
who was indeed handsome, but so deficient in education and 
so faulty in temper that she was continually annoying Tal- 
leyrand by her foolish conduct, and disturbing him by her 
uncertain humor. M. de Talleyrand has a very good temper, 
and much laisser-aller in the events of every-day life. It is 
easy enough to rule him by frightening him, because he hates 
a disturbance, and Mme. Grand ruled him by her charms 
and her exactions. "When, however, the ambassadresses were 
in question, difficulties arose, as some of them would not con- 
sent to be received at the Hotel of External Relations by 
Mme. Grand. She complained, and these protests on both 
sides came to the ears of the First Consul. 

He immediately had a decisive interview on this subject 
with Talleyrand, and informed his minister that he must 
banish Mme. Grand from his house. No sooner had Mme. 
Grand been apprised of this decision, than she went to Mme. 
Bonaparte, whom she induced, by dint of tears and supplica- 
tions, to procure for her an interview with Bonaparte. She 
was admitted to his presence, fell on her knees, and entreated 
him to revoke a decree which reduced her to despair. Bo- 
naparte allowed himself to be moved by the tears and sobs 
of this fair personage, and, after having quieted her, he said : 
"I see only one way of managing this. Let Talleyrand 
marry you, and all will be arranged ; but you must bear his 
name, or you can not appear in his house." Mme. Grand was 
much pleased with this decision ; the Consul repeated it to 
Talleyrand, and gave him twenty-four hours to make up his 
mind. It is said that Bonaparte took a malign pleasure in 
making Talleyrand marry, and was secretly delighted to have 
this opportunity of branding his character, and thus, accord- 
ing to his favorite system, getting a guarantee of his fidelity. 


It is very possible that lie may have entertained such an idea ; 
it is also certain that Mme. Bonaparte, over whom tears 
always exercised a great influence, used all her power with 
her husband to induce him to favor Mme. Grand's petition. 

Talleyrand went back to his hotel, gravely troubled by 
the prompt decision which was required of him. There he 
had to encounter tumultuous scenes. He was attacked by all 
the devices likely to exhaust his patience. He was pressed, 
pursued, urged against his inclination. Some remains of 
love, the power of habit, perhaps also the fear of irritating a 
woman whom it is impossible to suppose he had not admitted 
to his confidence, combined to influence him. He yielded, 
set out for the country, and found, in a village in the valley 
of Montmorency, a cure who consented to perform the mar- 
riage ceremony. Two days afterward we were informed that 
Mme. Grand had become Mme. de Talleyrand, and the diffi- 
culty of the Corps Diplomatique was at an end. It appears 
that M. Grand, who lived in England, although little desirous 
of recovering a wife from whom he had long been parted, 
contrived to get himself largely paid for withholding the 
protest against this marriage with which he repeatedly men- 
aced the newly wedded couple. M. de Talleyrand, wanting 
something to amuse him in his own house, brought over from 
London the daughter of one of his friends, who on her death- 
bed had confided the child to him. This child was that little 
Charlotte who was, as we all know, brought up in his house, 
and who has been very erroneously believed to be his daugh- 
ter. He attached himself strongly to his young ward, edu- 
cated her carefully, and, having adopted her and bestowed 
his name upon her, married her in her seventeenth year to 
his cousin Baron de Talleyrand. The Talleyrands were at 
first justly annoyed by this marriage, but she ultimately suc- 
ceeded in gaining their friendship. 

Those persons who are acquainted with Talleyrand, who 
know to what a height he carries delicacy of taste, wit, and 
grace in conversation, and how much he needs repose, are 


astonished that he should have united himself with a person 
so uncongenial to him. It is, therefore, most likely that im- 
perative circumstances compelled him to do so, and that Bona- 
parte's command and the short time allowed him in which 
to come to a decision prevented a rupture, which in fact 
would have suited him much better. What a difference it 
would have made for Talleyrand if he had then dissolved 
this illicit union, and set himself to merit and effect a future 
reconciliation with the Church he had abandoned ! Apart 
from desiring for him that that reconciliation had been made 
then in good faith, how much consideration would he have 
gained if afterward, when all things were reordered and re- 
placed, he had resumed the Roman purple in the autumn of 
his days, and at least repaired in the eyes of the world the 
scandal x of his life ! As a cardinal, a noble, and a truly dis- 
tinguished man, he would have had a right to respect and 
regard, and his course would not have been beset with em- 
barrassment and hesitation. 

In the situation in which he was placed by his marriage, 
he had to take constant precaution to escape, as far as pos- 
sible, from the ridicule which was always suspended over 
him. No doubt he managed better than others might have 
done in such a position. Profound silence respecting his 
private troubles, an appearance of complete indifference to 
the foolish things which his wife was always saying and the 
blunders which she was always making, a haughty demeanor 
to those who ventured to smile at him or at her, extreme 
politeness, which was called benevolence, great social influ- 
ence and political weight, a large fortune, unalterable pa- 
tience under insult, and great dexterity in taking his re- 
venge, were the weapons with which he met the general 
condemnation; and, notwithstanding his great faults, the 
public have never dared to despise him. Nevertheless, it is 
not to be supposed that he has not paid the private penalty 
of his imprudent conduct. Deprived of domestic happiness, 
almost at variance with his family, who could not associate 


with Mme. de Talleyrand, he was obliged to resort to an 
entirely factitious existence, in order to escape from the 
dreariness of his home, and perhaps from the bitterness of 
his secret thoughts. Public affairs occupied him, and such 
leisure as they left him he gave to play. He was always 
attended by a crowd of followers, and by giving his morn- 
ings to business, his evenings to society, and his nights to 
cards, he never exposed himself to a tiresome tete-d-tete with 
his wife, or to the dangers of solitude, which would have 
brought serious reflection. Bent on getting away from him- 
self, he never sought sleep until he was quite sure that ex- 
treme fatigue would enable him to procure it. 

The Emperor did not make up for the obligation which 
he had imposed on him by his conduct to Mme. de Talley- 
rand. He treated her coldly, even rudely ; never admitted 
her to the distinctions of the rank to which she was raised, 
without making a difficulty about it ; and did not disguise 
the repugnance with which she inspired him, even while 
Talleyrand still possessed his entire confidence. Talleyrand 
bore all this, never allowed the slightest complaint to escape 
him, and arranged so that his wife should appear but seldom 
at Court. She received all distinguished foreigners on cer- 
tain days, and on certain other days the Government offi- 
cials. She made no visits, none were exacted from her ; in 
fact, she counted for nothing. Provided each person bowed 
to her on entering and leaving his salon, Talleyrand asked 
no more. Let me say, in conclusion, that he always seemed 
to bear with perfectly resigned courage the fatal "tu Vas 
voulu " of Moliere's comedy. 

In the course of these Memoirs I shall have to speak of 
M. de Talleyrand again, when I shall have reached the pe- 
riod of our intimacy with him.* 

* My grandparents' friendship with M. de Talleyrand, which commenced dur- 
ing the sojourn of my grandfather at Milan, became more intimate in the course 
of the same year. My grandmother wrote to her husband on the 28th of Sep- 
tember, 1805 : "I have been really pleased with the Minister. In a brief audi- 

MME. GRAND. 281 

I did not know Mme. Grand in the prime of her life and 
beauty, but I have heard it said that she was one of the most 
charming women of her time. She was tall, and her figure 
had all the suppleness and grace so common to women born 
in the East. *Her complexion was dazzling, her eyes of the 
brightest blue, and her slightly retrousse nose gave her, sin- 
gularly enough, a look of Talleyrand himself. Her fair 
golden hair was of proverbial beauty. I think she was about 
thirty-six when she married M. de Talleyrand. The elegance 
of her figure was already slightly injured by her becoming 
stout. This afterward increased, and by degrees her features 
lost their delicacy and her complexion became very red. The 
tone of her voice was disagreeable, her manners were abrupt ; 
she was of an unamiable disposition, and so intolerably stupid 
that she never by any chance said the right thing. Talley- 
rand's intimate friends were the objects of her particular dis- 
like, and they cordially detested her. Her elevation gave 
her little happiness, and what she had to suffer never excited 
anybody's interest.* 

ence which he gave me he showed me much friendship, after his fashion. You 
may tell him that he has been very amiable, and that I have told you so ; that 
never does any harm. I said to him, laughing : ' You must like my husband 
very much ; that will not give you much trouble, and will give me a great deal 
of pleasure.' He told me that he did like you, and / believe him. He insists 
that we suffer too much from ennui at the Court not to be, all of us, a little gal- 
lant. I said, '/ shall be longer about becoming so than the others, because lam 
not altogether stupid, and intellect is the surest safeguard? I was inclined to say 
to him that he was not a proof of that, and that I felt in myself a much better de- 
fense, the dear and constant sentiment with which you have inspired me, and which 
constitutes the happiness of my life, even at this moment, when it also causes a 
keen sorrow." That sorrow was absence. P. R. 

* The papal brief which relieved M. de Talleyrand from the excommunications 
he had incurred was considered by him as a permission to become a layman, and 
even to marry, although nothing of the kind was expressed in it. The reader 
may convince himself on this point by reading the very interesting work of Sir 
Henry Lytton Bulwer, which appears to me to be the most just and the most 
kindly view that has yet been taken of M. de Talleyrand, as regards his charac- 
ter, his talent, and the influence which he exercised in Europe, so often with 
great utility to France. The author speaks thus of Talleyrand's marriage: 


While the Emperor was reviewing the whole of his army, 
Mme. Murat went to Boulogne to pay him a visit, and he 
desired that Mme. Louis Bonaparte, who had accompanied 
her husband to the baths of Saint Amand, should also attend 
him there, and bring her son. On several occasions he went 
through the ranks of his soldiers, carrying this child in his 
arms. The army was then remarkably fine, strictly disci- 
plined, full of the best spirit, well provided, and impatient 
for war. This desire was destined to be satisfied before 

Notwithstanding the reports in our newspapers, we were 
almost always stopped in everything that we attempted to 
do for the protection of our colonies. The proposed inva- 
sion appeared day by day more perilous. It became neces- 
sary to astonish Europe by a less doubtful novelty. " We 
are no longer," said the notes of the " Moniteur," addressed 
to the English Government, " those Frenchmen who were 
sold and betrayed by perfidious ministers, covetous mis- 
tresses, and indolent kings. You march toward an inevitable 

The two nations, English and French, each claimed the 
victory in the naval combat off Cape Finisterre, where no 
doubt our national bravery opposed a strong resistance to 
the science of the enemy, but which had no other result than 
to oblige our fleet to reenter the port. Shortly afterward 
our journals were full of complaints of the insults which 
the flag of Yenice had sustained since it had become a de- 
pendency of Austria. We soon learned that the Austrian 
troops were moving ; that an alliance between the Emperors 
of Austria and Kussia was f onned against us ; and the Eng- 

" The lady whom he married, born in the East Indies, and separated from 
Grand, was remarkable for her beauty and for her lack of sense. Every one 
has heard the anecdote of her asking Sir George Robinson after his ' man Fri- 
day.' Talleyrand, however, defended his choice by saying : * A clever woman 
often compromises her husband ; a stupid woman only compromises herself.' " 
P. R. 


lish journals triumphantly announced a continental war. 
This year the birthday of Napoleon was celebrated with 
great pomp from one end of France to the other. He re- 
turned from Boulogne on the 3d of September, and at that 
time the Senate issued a decree by which the Gregorian cal- 
endar was to be resumed on the 1st of January, 1806. Thus 
disappeared, little by little, the last traces of the Eepublic, 
which had lasted, or appeared to last, for thirteen years. 



M. de Talleyrand and M. Fouch6 The Emperor's Speech to the Senate The De- 
parture of the Emperor The Bulletins of the Grand Army Poverty in Paris 
during the War The Emperor and the Marshals The Faubourg St. Germain 
Trafalgar Journey of M. de Re"musat to Vienna. 

AT the period of which I am writing, M. de Talleyrand 
was still on bad terms with M. Fouche, and, strange to say, 
I remember that the latter charged him with being deficient 
in conscientiousness and sincerity. He always remembered 
that on the occasion of the attempt of the 3d Mvose (the 
infernal machine) Talleyrand had accused him to Bonaparte 
of neglect, and had contributed not a little to his dismissal. 
On his return to the Ministry he secretly nursed his resent- 
ment, and let slip no opportunity of gratifying it, by that 
bitter and cynical mockery which was the habitual tone of 
his conversation. 

Talleyrand and Fouche were two very remarkable men, 
and both were exceedingly useful to Bonaparte. But it 
would be difficult to find less resemblance and fewer points 
of contact between any two persons placed in such close and 
continuous relations. The former had studiously preserved 
the carelessly resolute manner, if I may use that expression, 
of the nobles of the old regime. Acute, taciturn, measured 
in his speech, cold in his bearing, pleasing in conversation, 
deriving all his power from himself alone for he held no 
party in his hand his very faults, and even the stigma of 
his abandonment of his former sacred state of life, were suf- 


ficient guarantee to the Eevolutionists, who knew him to be 
so adroit and so supple that they believed him to be always 
keeping the means of escaping them in reserve. Besides, 
he opened his mind to no one. He was quite impenetrable 
upon the affairs with which he was charged, and upon his 
own opinion of the master whom he served ; and, as a final 
touch to this picture, he neglected nothing for his own com- 
fort, was careful in his dress, used perfumes, and was a 
lover of good cheer and all the pleasures of the senses. He 
was never subservient to Bonaparte, but he knew how to 
make himself necessary to him, and never flattered him in 

Fouche, on the contrary, was a genuine product of the 
Revolution. Careless of his appearance, he wore the gold 
lace and the ribbons which were the insignia of his dignities 
as if he disdained to arrange them. He could laugh at him- 
self on occasion : he was active, animated, always restless ; 
talkative, affecting a sort of frankness which was merely the 
last degree of deceit ; boastful ; disposed to seek the opinion 
of others upon his conduct by talking about it ; and sought 
no justification except in his contempt of a certain class of 
morality, or his carelessness of a certain order of approba- 
tion. But he carefully maintained, to Bonaparte's occasional 
disquiet, relations with a party whom the Emperor felt him- 
self obliged to conciliate in his person. With all this, Fouche 
was not deficient in a sort of good fellowship ; he had even 
some estimable qualities. He was a good husband to an 
ugly and stupid wife, and a very good, even a too-indulgent, 
father. He looked at revolution as a whole ; he hated small 
schemes and constantly recurring suspicions, and it was be- 
cause this was his way of thinking that his police did not 
suffice for the Emperor. Where Fouche recognized merit, 
he did it justice. It is not recorded of him that he was 
guilty of any personal revenge, nor did he show himself 
capable of persistent jealousy. It is even likely that, al- 
though he remained for several years an enemy of Talley- 


rand's, it was less because he had reason to complain of him 
than because the Emperor took pains to keep up a division 
between two men whose friendship he thought dangerous to 
himself ; and, indeed, it was when they were reconciled that 
he began to distrust them both, and to exclude them from 

In 1805 Talleyrand stood much higher in favor than 
Fouehe. The business in hand was to found a monarchy, 
to impose it upon Europe and upon France by skillful diplo- 
macy and the pomp of a Court ; and the ci-devcmt noble was 
much fitter to advise upon all these points. He had an im- 
mense reputation in Europe. He was known to hold con- 
servative opinions, and that was all the morality demanded 
by the foreign sovereigns. The Emperor, in order to inspire 
confidence in his enterprise, needed to have his signature 
supported by that of his Minister for Foreign Affairs. So 
necessary to his projects did he consider this that he did 
not grudge the distinction. The agitation which reigned in 
Europe at the moment when the rupture with Austria and 
Russia took place called for very frequent consultations be- 
tween the Emperor and M. de Talleyrand ; and, when Bona- 
parte left Paris to commence the campaign, the Minister 
established himself at Strasburg, so that 'he might be able to 
reach the Emperor when the French cannon should announce 
that the hour of negotiations had arrived. 

About the middle of September rumors of an approach- 
ing departure were spread at Saint Cloud. M. de Remusat 
received orders to repair to Strasburg, and there to prepare 
the Imperial lodgings ; and the Empress declared so de- 
cidedly her intention of following her husband that it was 
settled she should go to Strasburg with him. A numerous 
Court was to accompany them. As my husband was going, 
I should have been very glad to accompany him, but I was 
becoming more and more of an invalid, and was not in a 
state to travel. I was therefore obliged to submit to this 
new separation, a more sorrowful one than the former. This 


was the first time since I had been at the Court that I had 
seen the Emperor setting out for the army. The dangers to 
which he was about to be exposed revived all my former 
attachment to him. I had not courage to reproach him with 
anything when I saw him depart on so serious a mission ; 
and the thought that, of many persons who were going, 
there would no doubt be some whom I should never see 
again, brought tears to my eyes, and made my heart sink. 
In the glittering salon of Saint Cloud I saw wives and 
mothers in terror and anguish, who did not dare to let their 
grief be seen, so great was the fear of displeasing the Em- 
peror. The officers affected carelessness, but that was the 
necessary bravado of their profession. At that time, how- 
ever, there were a great many of them who, having attained 
a sufficient fortune, and being unable to foresee the almost 
gigantic height to which the continuity of war was afterward 
to raise them, were very sorry to relinquish the pleasant and 
quiet life which they had now led for some years. 

Throughout France the law of the conscription was 
strictly carried out, and this caused some disturbance in the 
provinces. The fresh laurels which our army was about to 
acquire were regarded with indifference. But the soldiers 
and subalterns were full of hope and ardor, and rushed to 
the frontiers with eagerness, a presage of success. 

On the 20th of September the following appeared in the 

"The Emperor of Germany, without previous negotia- 
tion or explanation, and without any declaration of war, has 
invaded Bavaria. The Elector has retreated to Warzburg, 
where the whole Bavarian army is assembled." 

On the 23d the Emperor repaired to the Senate, and issued 
a decree calling out the reserves of the conscripts of five years' 
standing. Berthier, the Minister of "War, read a report on 
the impending war, and the Minister of the Interior demon- 
strated the necessity of employing the National Guard to 
protect the coasts. 


The Emperor's speech was simple and impressive ;-it was 
generally approved. Our causes of complaint against Austria 
were fully set forth in the " Moniteur." There is little .doubt 
that England, if not afraid, was at least weary of the stay of 
our troops on the coast, and that it was her policy to raise 
up enemies for us on the Continent, while the division of 
the kingdom of Italy, and still more its union with the French 
Empire, was sufficiently disquieting to the Austrian Cabinet. 
Without a knowledge of the diplomatic secrets of the period, 
which I do not possess, it is hard to understand why the 
Emperor of Russia broke with us. It is probable that com- 
mercial difficulties were making him anxious about his rela- 
tions with England. It may be well to quote some words of 
Napoleon's on this subject. " The Emperor Alexander," he 
said, " is a young man ; he longs for a taste of glory, and, 
like all children, he wants to go a different way from that 
which his father followed." Neither can I explain the neu- 
trality of the King of Prussia, which was so advantageous to 
us, and to himself so fatal, since it did but delay his over- 
throw for one year. It seems to me that Europe blundered. 
The Emperor's character should have been better appreciated ; 
and there should have been either a clear understanding that 
he must be always yielded to, or he should have been put 
down by general consent at the outset of his career. 

Eut I must return to my narrative, from which I have 
digressed in order to treat of a subject beyond my pow- 

I passed the last few days preceding the Emperor's de- 
parture at Saint Cloud. The Emperor worked unremit- 
tingly; when over-fatigued, he would lie down for a few 
hours in the daytime, but would rise in the middle of the 
night and go on with his labors. He was, however, more 
serene and gracious than at other times ; he received com- 
pany as usual, went occasionally to the theatres, and did not 
forget, when he was at Strasburg, to send a present to 
Fleury, the actor, who, two days before his departure, had 


performed Corneille's "Menteur," by which he had suc- 
ceeded in amusing the Emperor. 

The Empress was as full of confidence as the wife of 
Bonaparte would naturally be. Happy to be allowed to 
accompany him and to escape from the talk of Paris, which 
alarmed her, from the spying of her brothers-in-law, and the 
monotony of Saint Cloud, delighted with the fresh oppor- 
tunity for display, she looked on a campaign as on a journey, 
and maintained a composure which, as it could not by reason 
of her position proceed from indifference, was a genuine 
compliment to him whom she firmly believed fortune would 
not dare to forsake. Louis Bonaparte, who was in bad 
health, was to remain in Paris, and had received orders, as 
had also his wife, to entertain liberally in the absence of the 
Emperor. Joseph presided over the Administrative Council 
of the Senate. He resided at the Luxembourg, where he 
was also to hold a Court. Princess Borghese was recovering 
her health at Trianon. Mme. Murat withdrew to Neuilly, 
where she occupied herself in beautifying her charming 
dwelling ; Murat accompanied the Emperor to headquarters. 
M. de Talleyrand was to remain at Strasburg until further 
orders. M. Maret attended the Emperor; he was the au- 
thor-in-chief of the bulletins. 

On the 24th the Emperor set out, and he reached Stras- 
burg without stopping on the way. 

I returned in low spirits to Paris, where I rejoined my 
children, my mother, and my sister. I found the latter 
much distressed by her separation from M. de Nansouty, 
who was in command of a division of cavalry. 

Immediately on the departure of the Emperor, rumors 
became rife in Paris of an intended invasion of the coast, 
and, in fact, such an expedition might have been attempted ; 
but, fortunately, our enemies were not quite so audacious 
and enterprising as ourselves, and at that time the English 
had not such confidence in their army as since then it has 
justly inspired. 


The tightening of the money-market began almost imme- 
diately to be felt : in a short time payment at the Bank was 
suspended; money fetched a very high price. I heard it 
said that our export trade did not suffice for our wants; 
that war had stopped it, and was raising the price of all our 
imports. This, I was told, was the cause of the sudden em- 
barrassment which had come upon us. 

Special and personal anxieties were added to the general 
depression. Many families of distinction had sons in the 
army, and trembled for their fate. In what suspense did 
not parents await the arrival of bulletins which might sud- 
denly apprise them of the loss of those most dear to them ! 
What agonies did not Bonaparte inflict on women, on moth- 
ers, during many years ! He has sometimes expressed aston- 
ishment at the hatred he at last inspired ; but could he expect 
to be forgiven such agonized and prolonged suspense, so much 
weeping, so many sleepless nights, and days of agonizing 
dread 3 If he had but admitted the truth, he must have known 
there is not one natural feeling on which he had not trampled. 

Before his departure, and in order to gratify the nobles, 
he created what was called the Guard of Honor. He gave 
the command to his Grand Master of Ceremonies. It was 
almost funny to see poor M. de Segur's zeal in forming his 
Guard, the eagerness displayed by certain great personages to 
obtain admittance into it, and the anxiety of some of the 
chamberlains, who imagined the Emperor would much ad- 
mire the change of their red coats for a military uniform. I 
shall never forget the surprise, nay, the fright which M. de 
Lugay, Prefect of the Palace, a mild and timid person, gave 
me, when he asked me whether M. de Remusat, the father 
of a family, a former magistrate, and at that time more than 
forty years of age, did not also intend to embrace the mili- 
tary career thus suddenly opened to everybody. "We were 
beginning to be accustomed to so many strange things that, 
in spite of sense and reason, I felt some solicitude on this 
subject, and I wrote to my husband, who replied that he 


had not been seized with martial ardor, and that he hoped 
the Emperor might still reckon among his servants some who 
did not wear swords. 

' At this time the Emperor had partly restored us to favor. 
On his departure from Strasburg he confided the entire 
charge of the Court and the Empress's household to my 
husband. These were sufficiently easy duties, with no great- 
er drawback than a certain amount of tedium. M. de Tal- 
leyrand, who also remained behind at Strasburg, gave some 
zest to the daily routine of M. de Kemusat's life. They now 
became really intimate, and were frequently together. M. 
de Remusat, who was by nature simple, modest, and retir- 
ing, showed to advantage as he became better known, and 
M. de Talleyrand recognized his intellectual qualities, his 
excellent judgment, and his uprightness. He began to trust 
him, to appreciate the safety of intercourse with him, and to 
treat him as a friend; while my husband, who was gratified 
by receiving such overtures from a quarter whence he had 
not expected them, conceived for him from that moment an 
affection which no subsequent vicissitude has lessened. 

Meanwhile the Emperor had left Strasburg. On the 1st 
of October he commenced the campaign, and the entire army, 
transported as if by magic from Boulogne, was crossing the 
frontier. The Elector of Bavaria, on being called upon by 
the Emperor of Austria to afford free passage to his troops, 
refused to do so, and was being invaded on every side ; but 
Bonaparte marched to his aid without delay. 

We then received the first bulletin from the Grand Army. 
It announced a first success at Donauworth, and gave us the 
proclamations of the Emperor, and that of the Viceroy of 
Italy. Massena was ordered to reenforce the latter, and to 
push into the Tyrol with the united French and Italian 
armies. To phrases well calculated to inflame the zeal of 
our soldiers were added others of biting sarcasm against our 
enemy. A circular addressed to the inhabitants of Austria, 
asking for contributions of lint, was published, accompanied 


by the following note : " "We hope the Emperor of Austria 
will not require any, as he has gone back to Vienna." 

Insults to the ministers were not spared, nor to some of 
the great Austrian nobles, among whom was the Count de 
Colloredo, who was accused of being governed by his wife, 
herself entirely devoted to English policy. These unworthy 
attacks occurred promiscuously in the bulletins, among really 
elevated sentiments, which, although put forth with Roman 
rather than with French eloquence, were very effective. 

Bonaparte's activity in this campaign was positively mar- 
velous. From the beginning he foresaw the advantages that 
would accrue to him from the first blunders of the Austrians, 
and also his ultimate success. Toward the middle of October 
he wrote to his wife : " Rest easy ; I promise you the shortest 
and most brilliant of campaigns." 

At Wertingen our cavalry obtained some advantage over 
the enemy, and M. de Nansouty distinguished himself. A 
brilliant skirmish also took place at Giinzburg, and the Aus- 
trians were soon retreating from every point. 

The army became more and more enthusiastic, and seemed 
to take no heed of the approach of winter. Just before going 
into action, the Emperor harangued his soldiers on the Lech 
bridge, in the midst of thickly falling snow. " But," con- 
tinued the bulletin, " his words were of fire, and the soldiers 
forgot their privations." The bulletin ended with these pro- 
phetic words : " The destinies of the campaign are fixed." * 

* The actual text of the fifth bulletin from the Grand Army is as follows : 
" Augsburg, 20th Vendemiaire, year 14 (12th October, 1805). The Emperor was 
on the Lech bridge when the division under General Marmont defiled past him. 
He ordered each regiment to form in circle, and spoke to them of the enemy's 
position,, of the imminence of a great battle, and of his confidence in them. He 
made this speech in the most severe weather. Snow was falling thick, the troops 
stood in mud up to their knees, and the cold was intense; but the Emperor's 
words were of fire, and while listening to him the soldiers forgot their fatigue 
and their privations, and were impatient for the moment of battle. Never can 
great events have been decided in a shorter time. In less than a fortnight the 
destinies of the campaign, and of the Austrian, and Russian armies, will be 
fixed." P. R. 


The taking of Ulm and the capitulation of its immense 
garrison completed the surprise and terror of Austria, and 
served to silence the factious spirit in Paris, which had been 
with difficulty repressed by the police. It is hard to prevent 
Frenchmen from ranging themselves on the side of glory, 
and we began to share .in that which our army was gaining. 
But the monetary difficulty was still painfully felt; trade 
suffered, the theatres were empty, an increase of poverty 
was perceptible, and the only hope that sustained us was 
that a campaign so brilliant must be followed by an imme- 
diate peace. 

After the capitulation of Ulm, the Emperor himself dic- 
tated the following phrase in the bulletin : " The panegyric 
of the army may be pronounced in two words : It is worthy 
of its leader." * He wrote to the Senate, sending the colors 
taken from the enemy, and announcing that the Elector had 
returned to his capital. Letters from him to the bishops, 
requesting them to offer thanksgiving for our victories, were 
also published. 

From the very beginning of the campaign pastoral letters 
had been read in every metropolitan church, justifying the 
war, and encouraging the new recruits to march promptly 
whithersoever they should be called. The bishops now be- 
gan the task once more, and exhausted the Scriptures for 
texts to prove that the Emperor was protected by the God 
of armies." f 

* These words are, in fact, to be found in the sixth bulletin from the Grand 
Army, dated Elchingen, 26th Vend6miaire, year 14 (18th October, 1805). P. R. 

f The extreme subservience shown by the clergy toward the Emperor was 
not sufficient in his eyes, if we may judge by the following letter, which he 
addressed to Fouche" during the campaign: "4th Nivose, year 14 (25th Decem- 
ber, 1805). I perceive some difficulty on the subject of reading out the bulletins 
in churches ; I do not consider this advisable. It would only give more im- 
portance to priests than is their due ; for it gives them a right of comment, and, 
should the news be bad, they would not fail to remark on it. It is thus because 
there are no fixed principles : now there are to be no priests at all, again there 
are to be too many ; all this must come to an end. M. Portalis was wrong to 
write his letter without knowing my intentions on the subject." P. R. 


Joseph Bonaparte was the bearer of his brother's letter 
to the Senate. That body decreed that, in reply, an address 
of congratulation should be carried to headquarters by a cer- 
tain number of its members. 

At Strasburg the Empress received a number of German 
princes, who came to join her Court^ and to offer her their 
homage and congratulations. With a natural pride she 
showed them the Emperor's letters, in which long before- 
hand he announced to her the victories he was about to 
gain; and either his skillful foresight must needs be ad- 
mired, or else the power of a destiny which never for a 
moment belied itself must be recognized. 

Marshal Ney distinguished himself at Elchingen, and the 
Emperor consented so fully to leave the honors of the occa- 
sion to him that afterward, when he created dukes, he de- 
sired that the Marshal's title should be Duke of Elchingen. 

I use the word consented, because it is admitted that 
Bonaparte was not always perfectly just in apportioning 
the fame which he accorded to his generals. In one of his 
occasional fits of frankness, I heard him say that he liked to 
bestow glory only on those who knew not how to sustain it. 
According to his policy with respect to the military chiefs 
under his orders, or the degree of confidence which he placed 
in them, he would either preserve silence concerning certain 
victories of theirs, or change the blunder of a particular 
marshal into a success. A general would hear through some 
bulletin of an action which had never taken place, or of a 
speech which he had never made. Another would find him- 
self famous in the newspapers, and would wonder how he 
had deserved to be thus distinguished. Others would en- 
deavor to protest against his neglect of them, or against 
distorted accounts of events. But how was it possible to 
correct what had once been read, and was already effaced by 
more recent news ? For Bonaparte's rapidity in war gave 
us daily something fresh to learn. On these occasions he 
would either impose silence on the protest, or, if he wished 


to appease the offended officer, a sum of money, a prize from 
the enemy, or permission to levy a tax was granted to him, 
and thus the affair would end. 

This crafty spirit, which was inherent in Bonaparte's 
character, and which he employed adroitly in dealing with 
his marshals and superior officers, may be justified, up to a 
certain point, by the difficulty he occasionally met with in 
managing so large a number of individuals of widely differ- 
ing characters but similar aims. He was perfectly cognizant 
of the scope of their various talents ; he knew in what man- 
ner each of them might be useful to him : while rewarding 
their services he was perpetually obliged to repress their 
pride and jealousy. He was forced to use every means in 
his power to secure his own success ; above all, he could miss 
no opportunity of making them feel their entire dependence 
on himself, and that their renown as well as their fortune was 
in his hands alone.* This point once reached, he might 

* I find among my father's papers a note which further develops what is 
said here concerning the marshals- of the Empire: "The Emperor took the 
utmost license in composing his bulletins, seeking especially to eclipse all the 
others, and to establish his own infallibility ; then considering the kind of effect 
he wished to produce on foreigners and on the public in France ; and, lastly, 
having regard to his intentions and his good or ill will toward his lieutenants. 
Truth came a long way behind all these things. Nothing could equal the sur- 
prise of his officers on reading the bulletins which came back to them from 
Paris ; but they made few complaints. The Emperor is, like the Convention 
and Louis XIV., one of the few powers able to subdue and to discipline the 
vanity of subordinates. 

" The Emperor praised the great generals of his time but little. Military 
men are more jealous of each other than those of any other profession ; they 
are the least to be relied on in their estimation of each other. They are dis- 
couraging or irritating when judging one of another. To this natural jealousy 
the Emperor added the calculations of a despot who will have no one of impor- 
tance except himself. Desaix is the only man of whom he spoke with any 
enthusiasm, and he knew him only at the opening of his career of power. He 
always continued, I believe, to treat him well, but Desaix died [at Marengo, 
June 14, 1800]. His comments on his lieutenants, in the beginning of his nar- 
rative of the first campaign in Italy, are remarkable, and their severity has no 
appearance of jealousy. Generally he spoke of the marshals with a not very 
flattering freedom. In his correspondence with King Joseph we may read what 


feel certain not to be importuned by them, and to be at 
liberty to reward their services at his own price. In general, 
however, the marshals have had no cause to complain that 
he did not rate them highly. The rewards obtained by them 
were frequently gigantic ; and, the long continuance of war 
having raised their hopes to the highest pitch, we have seen 
them become dukes and princes without being astonished at 
the fact, and end by thinking that royalty alone could wor- 
thily crown their destiny. Enormous sums were divided 
among them, and every kind of -exaction from the van- 
quished was permitted them ; some of them made immense 
fortunes, and, if most of these disappeared with the Govern- 
ment .under which they had been amassed, it was because 

he said of Mass6na, Jourdan, and some others. General Foy told me that he 
had heard him say of Soult, * He can array a battle well, but is incapable of 
fighting one.' Then he would dwell on the exactions, the pretensions, the am- 
bition, and the cupidity of his marshals. * No one knows,' he said to M. Pas- 
quier, ' what it is to have to deal with two such men as Soult and Ney.' His 
lieutenants frequently paid him back, in their conversations, what he had said 
concerning them. It was not in the army, especially during the campaigns that 
followed that of Austerlitz, that he was chiefly held in admiration, esteem, and 
affection. He had, as it were, an off-hand way of making war. He neglected 
many things, and risked many. He sacrificed everything to his personal success. 
Becoming more and more confident in his destiny, and in the terror inspired by 
his presence, his only thought was to repair any blunders, checks, or losses by 
decisive blows struck with his own hand. He was always resolute in denying or 
in preserving silence concerning anything which might injure him. This ren- 
dered the service unbearable to those generals who were at a distance from 
himself. They retained all their responsibility, were often without the neces- 
sary means of action, and received only orders impossible to execute, and which 
were intended to put them in the wrong. They accused him consequently of 
selfishness, of injustice, of perfidy, and even of malice toward them, or of envy. 
Barante has told me that, when the auditors arrived at the army, they were con- 
founded at what they heard said among the staff, and sometimes even at head- 
quarters. He himself, when attached to the staff of Marshal Lannes during 
the campaign of Poland, I believe heard him frequently say at his own table 
that the Emperor, being jealous of him and eager to ruin him, gave him orders 
with this end in view ; and once, when suffering from internal pain, he went so 
far as to say the Emperor had tried to have him poisoned." I have quoted the 
whole of this interesting passage ; but it is evident that all this was in embryo 
at the time of the campaign of 1805. P. R. 


they had been acquired so easily that their upstart possessors 
naturally spent them lavishly, feeling confident that the fa- 
cilities for making such fortunes would never be exhausted. 

In this first campaign of Napoleon's reign, although the 
army was as yet subject to a discipline which was afterward 
considerably relaxed, the vanquished people found themselves 
a prey to the rapacity of the conqueror, and the obligation of 
receiving some field officer for a single night, or even for a 
few hours, cost many a great Austrian noble or prince the 
entire destruction and pillage of his home. The common 
soldiers were under discipline, and there was an outward ap- 
pearance of order, but there was nothing to hinder a marshal 
from taking away with him, on his departure, any objects 
which had caught his fancy. After the close of the war, I 

have often heard the wife of Marshal X relate, with 

laughter, that her husband, knowing her taste for music, had 
sent her an immense collection of music-books, which he had 
found in some German prince's house ; and she would add, 
with equal ingenuousness, that he had dispatched so many 
packing-cases full of lusters and Vienna glass, which he had 
picked up in every direction, to their house in Paris, that she 
was quite at a loss to know where to put them. 

While the Emperor knew so well how to hold the preten- 
sions of his generals in check, he spared no pains to encourage 
and satisfy the rank and file. After the taking of Ulm, a 
decree was issued to the effect that the month of Yende- 
miaire, which was just closed, should in itself be reckoned as 
a campaign. 

On the feast of All Saints a solemn Te Dewm was sung 
at Notre Dame, and Joseph gave several entertainments in 
honor of our victories. 

Meanwhile Masse*na was distinguishing himself by vic- 
tories in Italy, and it soon became certain that the Emperor 
of Austria would have to pay dearly for this great campaign. 
The Russian army was hastening by forced marches to his 
aid, but had not yet joined the Austrians, who meanwhile 



were being defeated by our Emperor. It was said at the 
time that the Emperor Francis made a blunder by entering 
upon the war before the Emperor Alexander was in a posi- 
tion to help him. 

During this campaign Bonaparte induced the King of 
Naples to remain neutral, and agreed to rid him of the 
French garrison which he had hitherto been obliged to main- 
tain. Several decrees relating to the administration .of France 
were promulgated from various headquarters, and the former 
Doge of Genoa was created a senator. 

The Emperor liked to appear to be engaged in a number 
of different affairs at once, and to show that he could cast 
what he called " an eagle glance " in every direction at the 
same instant. For this reason, and also on account of his 
suspicious disposition, he wrote a letter to the Minister of 
Police, desiring him to keep a watchful eye on the Faubourg 
St. Germain, meaning those members of the French nobility 
who remained opposed to him, and stating that he had been 
informed of certain things that had been said against him in 
his absence, and would punish them on his return. 

It was Fouche*'s habit, on receiving such orders as these, 
to send for the persons, both men and women, who were 
more specially accused. Whether he really thought the Em- 
peror's displeasure was excited by mere trifles, and that, as 
he sometimes used to say, it was foolish to prevent French 
people from talking, or whether he desired to win golden 
opinions by his own moderation, after advising those persons 
for whom he had sent to be more cautious, he would conclude 
by admitting that the Emperor made too much ado about 
trivialities. Thus, by degrees, he acquired a reputation for 
justice and moderation, which did away with the first im- 
pressions of his character. The Emperor, who was informed 
of this conduct on his part, resented it, and was secretly on 
his guard against one so careful to conciliate all parties. 

On the 12th of November our victorious army entered 
the gates of Vienna. The newspapers gave full details of 


the circumstances, and these accounts acquire additional in- 
terest from the fact that they were all dictated by Bonaparte, 
and that he frequently took upon himself to invent, as an 
afterthought, circumstances or anecdotes likely to strike the 
popular imagination. 

"The Emperor," says the bulletin, "has taken up his 
abode in the palace of Schonbrunn ; he writes in a cabinet in 
which stands a statue of Maria Theresa. On observing this, 
he exclaimed : ' Ah ! if that great queen were still living, she 
would not allow herself to be led by such a woman as Mme. 
de Colloredo ! Surrounded by her nobles, she would have 
ascertained the wishes of her people. She would never have 
allowed her provinces to be ravaged by the Muscovites,' 

Meanwhile some bad news came to temper Bonaparte's 
success. Admiral Nelson had just beaten our fleet at Tra- 
falgar. The French navy had fought with splendid bravery, 
but had been disastrously defeated. This produced a bad 
effect in Paris, and disgusted the Emperor for ever with 
naval enterprises. He became so deeply prejudiced against 
the French navy that from that time it was scarcely possible 
to induce him to take any interest in or pay any attention to 
the subject. Vainly did the sailors or soldiers who had dis- 
tinguished themselves on that fatal day endeavor to obtain 
recognition or sympathy for the dangers they had encoun- 
tered : they were practically forbidden even to revert to the 
disaster; and when, in after-years, they wanted to obtain 
any favor, they took care not to claim it on the score of the 
admirable courage to which only the English dispatches ren- 
dered justice. 

Immediately on the Emperor's return to Vienna, he sent 
for M. de Talleyrand, perceiving that the time for negotia- 
tions was at hand, and that the Emperor of Austria was 
about to treat for peace. It is probable that our Emperor 
had already decided on making the Elector of Bavaria a 

* The whole of this lengthy effusion may be read in the " Moniteur." 


King, on enlarging his dominions, and also on the marriage 
of Prince Eugene. 

M. de Remusat was sent to Paris in order that he might 
convey the Imperial insignia and the crown diamonds to Vi- 
enna. I saw him but for an instant, and learned with fresh 
vexation that he was about to leave for a still more, distant 
country. On his return to Strasburg he received orders to 
proceed at once to Vienna, and the Empress was directed to 
repair to Munich with the whole Court. Nothing could ex- 
ceed the honors rendered to her in Germany. Princes and 
Electors crowded to welcome her, and the Elector of Bavaria, 
especially, neglected nothing to make her reception all that 
could be desired. She remained at Munich, waiting for her 
husband's return. 

M. de Remusat, while on his journey, reflected sadly 
upon the condition of the countries through which he passed. 
The land still reeked of battle. Devastated villages, roads 
encumbered with corpses and ruins, brought before his eyes 
all the horrors of war. The distress of the vanquished added 
an element of danger to the discomfort of this journey so 
late in the season. Everything contributed painfully to im- 
press the imagination of a man who was a friend to human- 
ity, and who lamented the disasters which result from the 
passions of conquerors. My husband's letters, full of pain- 
ful reflections, grieved me deeply, and served to lessen the 
enthusiasm which had been beginning to revive as I read 
accounts of victories, in which the bright side only was 
shown to the public. 

When M. de R&nusat reached Vienna, the Emperor was 
no longer there. The negotiations had lasted but a short 
time, and our army was marching forward. M. de Talley- 
rand and M. Maret remained at Schonbrunn, where they 
both lived, but without intimacy. M. Maret's familiarity 
with the Emperor gave him a sort of influence, which he 
kept up, as I have already said, by adoration, true or feigned, 
and displayed in all his words and actions. M. de Talleyrand 


would make fun of this sometimes, and quiz the Secretary of 
State, who resented such conduct excessively. He was there- 
fore always on his guard against M. de Talleyrand, and dis- 
liked him sincerely. 

M. de Talleyrand, who was thoroughly weary of Vienna, 
greeted M. de Kemusat on his arrival with great cordiality, 
and the intimacy between them increased during the idle 
life both were leading. It is very likely that M. Maret, who 
wrote regularly to the Emperor, reported upon this new 
friendship, and that it was displeasing to a person always 
prone to take offense, and apt to detect ulterior motives in 
the most unimportant actions of life. 

M. de Talleyrand, finding scarcely any one but M. de Ke- 
musat who could understand him, disclosed to him the polit- 
ical views with which the victories of our armies inspired 
him. He warmly desired to consolidate the peace of Europe, 
and his great fear was that the glamour of victory and the 
predilections of the military men surrounding the Emperor, 
all of them having again become accustomed to war, would 
induce the latter to prolong it. " When the moment comes 
for actually concluding peace," he said, " you will see that 
the greatest difficulty I shall have will be in treating with 
the Emperor himself, and it will take much talking to sober 
the intoxication produced by gunpowder." In these moments 
of confidence M. de Talleyrand would speak candidly of the 
Emperor. While he admitted the great defects of his char- 
acter, he believed him to be destined irrevocably to end the 
Revolution in France, and to found a lasting government ; 
and he also believed that he himself should be able to rule 
the Emperor's conduct with regard to Europe. " If I fail to 
persuade him," he said, " I shall, at any rate, know how to 
fetter him in spite of himself, and to force him to take some 

M. de Eemusat was delighted to find an able statesman, 
and one who enjoyed the confidence of the Emperor, full of 
projects so wise in themselves ; and he began to regard him 


with the esteem that every French citizen owes to a man 
who endeavors to control the effects of a boundless ambition. 
He often wrote to me that he was delighted with the discov- 
eries which his intimacy with M. de Talleyrand enabled him 
to make, and I began to feel interest in one who alleviated 
the wearisome exile of my husband. 

In my hours of solitude and anxiety, my husband's let- 
ters were my only pleasure and the sole charm of my exist- 
ence. Although he prudently avoided details, I could see 
that he was satisfied with his position. Then he would de- 
scribe to me the different sights he had seen. He would tell 
me of his drives or walks in Yienna, which he described as a 
large and beautiful city, and of his visits to certain important 
personages who had remained there, as well as to other fam- 
ilies. He was struck by their extreme attachment to the 
Emperor Francis. These good people of Yienna, although 
their city was conquered, did not hesitate openly to express 
their hopes of a speedy return to the paternal rule of their 
master ; and, while they sympathized with him in his re- 
verses, they never uttered a single reproach. 

Good order was maintained in Yienna ; the garrison was 
under strict discipline, and the inhabitants had no great cause 
of complaint against their conquerors. The French entered 
into some of the amusements of the place ; they frequented 
the theatres, and it was at Yienna that M. de Kemusat first 
heard the celebrated Italian singer Crescentini, and subse- 
quently engaged him for the Emperor's musical service. 



The Battle of Austerlitz The Emperor Alexander Negotiations Prince Charles 
M. d' Andre M. de Be"musat in Disgrace Duroc Savary The Treaty of 

THE arrival of the Eussian forces and the severe condi- 
tions exacted by the conqueror made the Emperor of Austria 
resolve on once more trying the fortune of war. Having 
assembled his forces and joined the Emperor Alexander, he 
awaited Bonaparte, who was advancing to meet him. The 
two immense armies met in Moravia, near the little village 
of Austerlitz, which, until then unknown, has become for 
ever memorable by reason of the great victory which France 
won there. 

Bonaparte resolved to give battle on the following day, 
the 1st of December, the anniversary of his coronation. 

The Czar had sent Prince Dolgorouki to our headquar- 
ters with proposals of peace, which, if the Emperor has told 
the truth in his bulletins, could hardly be entertained by a 
conqueror in possession of his enemy's capital. If we may 
believe him, the surrender of Belgium was demanded, and 
that the Iron Crown should be placed on another head. 
The envoy was taken through a part of the encampment 
which had been purposely left in confusion ; he was deceived 
by this, and misled the Emperors by his report of the state 
of things. 

The bulletin of those two days, the 1st and 2d of Decem- 
ber, states that the Emperor, on returning to his quarters 


toward evening, spoke these words: "This is the fairest 
evening of my life ; but I regret to think that I must lose a 
good number of these brave fellows. I feel, by the pain it 
gives me, that they are indeed my children ; and I reproach 
myself for this feeling, for I fear it may render me unfit to 
make war." 

The following day, in addressing his soldiers, he said: 
" This campaign must be ended by a thunder-clap. If France 
is to make peace only on the terms proposed by Dolgorouki, 
Russia shall not obtain them, even were her army encamped 
on the heights of Montmartre." Yet it was decreed that 
these same armies should, one day, be encamped there, and 
that at Belleville Alexander was to receive Napoleon's envoy, 
coming to offer him peace on any terms he chose to dictate. 

I will not transcribe the narrative of that battle, so truly 
honorable to our arms it will be found in the " Moniteur " ; 
and the Emperor of Eussia, with characteristic and noble 
simplicity, declared that the dispositions taken by the Em- 
peror to insure success, the skill of his generals, and the ar- 
dor of the French soldiers, were all alike incomparable. The 
flower of the three nations fought with unflagging determina- 
tion ; the two Emperors were obliged to fly in order to es- 
cape being taken, and, but for the conferences of the follow- 
ing day, it seems that the Emperor of Russia would have 
found his retreat very difficult. 

The Emperor dictated almost from the field of battle the 
narrative of all that had taken place on the 1st, the 2d, and 
the 3d of December. He even wrote part of it himself. 
The dispatch, hurriedly composed, yet full of details and 
very interesting, even at the present day, on account of the 
spirit in which it was conceived, consisted of twenty-five 
pages covered with erasures and with references, and was 
sent to M. Maret at Yienna, to be immediately put in form 
and sent to the " Moniteur " in Paris. 

On receiving this dispatch, M. Maret hastened to com- 
municate it to M. de Talleyrand and M. de Remusat. All 


three were then residing in the palace of the Emperor of 
Austria ; they shut themselves up in the Empress's private 
apartment, then occupied by M. de Talleyrand, in order to 
decipher the manuscript. The handwriting of the Emperor, 
which was always very illegible, and his bad spelling, made 
this a somewhat lengthy task. The order of events had to 
be rearranged, and incorrect expressions to be replaced by 
more suitable ones, and then, by the advice of M. de Talley- 
rand and to the great terror of M. Maret, certain phrases 
were suppressed, as too humiliating to the foreign sovereigns, 
or so directly eulogistic of Bonaparte himself that one won- 
ders he could have penned them. They retained certain 
phrases which were underscored, and to which it was evident 
he attached importance. This task lasted several hours, and 
was interesting to M. de Remusat, as it gave him an oppor- 
tunity of observing the very different methods of serving 
the Emperor adopted by the two Ministers respectively. 

After the battle, the Emperor Francis asked for an in- 
terview, which took place at the French Emperor's quar- 

" This," said Bonaparte, " has been my only palace for 
the last two months." 

" You make such good use of it," replied the Emperor of 
Austria, " that it ought to be agreeable to you." 

" It is asserted," says the bulletin, " that the Emperor, 
in speaking of the Emperor of Austria, used these words : 
* That man has led me to commit an error, for I could have 
followed up my victory, and have taken the whole Russian 
and Austrian army prisoners; but, after all, there will be 
some tears the less.' " 

According to the bulletin, the Czar was let off easily. 
Here is the account of the visit which Savary was sent to 
make to him : 

" The Emperor's aide-de-camp had accompanied the Em- 
peror of Germany after the interview, in order to learn 
whether the Emperor of Russia would agree to the capitula- 


fcion. He found the remnant of the Russian army without 
artillery or baggage, and in frightful disorder. 

" It was midnight ; General Meerfeld had been repulsed 
from Golding by Marshal Davoust, and the Russian army 
was surrounded not a man could escape. Prince Czarto- 
ryski presented General Savary to the Emperor. 

" ' Tell your master,' said the Czar, i that I am going away ; 
that he did wonders yesterday, that his achievements have 
increased my admiration for him, that he is predestined by 
Heaven, and that my army would require a hundred years 
to equal his. But can I withdraw in safety ? ' * Yes, sire, if 
your Majesty ratifies what the two Emperors of France and 
Austria have agreed upon in their interview.' ' And what is 
that ? ' * That your Majesty's army shall return home by 
stages to be regulated by the Emperor, and that it shall evac- 
uate Germany and Austrian Poland. On these conditions I 
have it in commission to go to our outposts, and give them 
orders to protect your retreat, as the Emperor is desirous to 
protect the friend of the First Consul.' ' What guarantee is 
required ? ' ' Your word, sire.' ' I give it you.' 

" General Savary set out on the instant at full gallop, and, 
having joined Davoust, he gave orders to suspend all opera- 
tions and remain quiet. It is to be hoped that the generosity 
of the Emperor of France on this occasion may not be so 
soon forgotten in Russia as was his sending back six thousand 
men to the Emperor Paul, with expressions of his esteem. 

" General Savary had an hour's conversation with the 
Emperor of Russia, and found him all that a man of good 
sense and good feeling ought to be, whatever reverses he 
may have experienced. 

"The Emperor asked him about the details of the day. 
' You were inferior to me,' he said, ( and yet you were supe- 
rior upon all the points of attack.' ' That, sire,' answered 
the General, ' is the art of war, and the fruit of fifteen years 
of glory. This is the fortieth battle the Emperor has fought.' 
' True. He is a great warrior. As for me, this is the first 


time I have seen fighting. I have never had any pretension 
to measure myself with him.' ' When you have experience, 
sire, you may perhaps surpass him.' ' I shall now go away 
to my capital. I came to lend my aid to the Emperor of 
Austria ; he has had me informed that he is content, and I 
am the same.' " * 

There was a good deal of speculation at that time as to 
what was the Emperor's real reason for consenting to make 
peace after this battle, instead of pushing his victory further ; 
for, of course, nobody believed in the motive which was as- 
signed for it, i. e., the sparing of so many tears which must 
otherwise have been shed. 

May we conclude that the day of Austerlitz had cost him 
so dear as to make him shrink from incurring another like it, 
and that the Russian army was not so utterly defeated as he 
would have had us believe ? Or was it that again he had 
done as he himself expressed it, when he was asked why he 
had put an end to the march of victory by the treaty of Leo- 
ben : " I was playing at vingt-et-un, and I stopped short at 
vingt " \ May we believe that Bonaparte, in his first year 
of empire, did not yet venture to sacrifice the lives of the 
people as ruthlessly as he afterward sacrificed them, and that, 
having entire confidence in M. de Talleyrand at that period, 
he yielded more readily to the moderate policy of his Minis- 
ter ? Perhaps, too, he believed that he had reduced the Aus- 
trian power by his campaign more than he really had reduced 
it ; for he said, after his return from Munich, " I have left 
the Emperor Francis too many subjects." 

"Whatever may have been his motives, he deserves praise 
for the spirit of moderation that he maintained in the midst 
of an army heated by victory, and which certainly was at 
that moment desirous of prolonging the war. The marshals 

* All these anecdotes are related in the 30th and Slst bulletins of the Grand 
Army, dated from Austerlitz, 12th and 14th Frimaire, year 14 (3d and 5th De- 
cember, 1806), pages 543 and 555 of vol. xi. of the " Correspondence of Napo- 
leon the First," published by order of the Emperor Napoleon the Third. P. K. 


and all the officers about the Emperor did everything iii 
their power to induce him to carry on the campaign ; they 
were certain of victory everywhere, and by shaking the pur- 
pose of their chief they created for M. de Talleyrand all the 
difficulties that he had foreseen. The Minister, summoned 
to headquarters, had to contend with the disposition of the 
army. He maintained, alone and unsupported, that peace 
must be concluded that the Austrian power was necessary 
to the equilibrium of Europe ; and it was then that he said, 
u When you shall have weakened all the powers of the cen- 
ter, how are you to hinder those of the extremities the Eus- 
sians, for instance from falling upon them?" In reply to 
this he was met by private interests, by a personal and insa- 
tiable desire for the chances of fortune which the continu- 
ance of the war might offer ; and certain persons, who knew 
the Emperor's character well, said, " If even we do not put 
an end to this affair on the spot, you will see that we shall 
commence another campaign by and by." 

As for the Emperor himself, disturbed by this diversity 
of opinion, urged by his love of war, and influenced by his 
habitual distrust, he allowed M. de Talleyrand to perceive 
that he suspected him of a secret understanding with the 
Austrian ambassador, and of sacrificing the interests of 
France. M. de Talleyrand answered with that firmness 
which he always maintains in great affairs, when he has 
taken a certain line : " You deceive yourself. My object 
is to sacrifice the interest of your generals, which is no con- 
cern of mine, to the interests of France. Eeflect that you 
lower yourself by saying such things as they say, and that 
you are worthy to be something more than a mere soldier." 
The Emperor was flattered by being praised at the expense 
of his former companions in arms ; and by adroitness of this 
kind M. de Talleyrand succeeded in gaining his ends. At 
length he brought the Emperor to resolve on sending him to 
Presburg, where the negotiations were to take place ; but it 
is a strange and probably unexampled fact that Bonaparte, 


while giving M. de Talleyrand powers to treat for peace, 
actually deceived him on a point of vital importance, and 
placed in his path the greatest difficulty that ever a negotia- 
tor had experienced. 

On the occasion of the meeting of the two Emperors 
after the battle, the Emperor of Austria consented to relin- 
quish the State of Venice ; but he had demanded that the 
portion of the Tyrol conquered by Massena should be re- 
stored to Austria, and Napoleon, no doubt affected in spite 
of his mastery over his emotions, and a little off his guard in 
the presence of this vanquished sovereign, who had come to 
discuss his interests in person on the battle-field where the 
bodies of his subjects who had fallen in his cause still lay, 
had not been able to maintain his inflexibility. He gave up 
the Tyrol ; but no sooner had the interview come to an end 
than he repented of what he had done, and, when giving M. 
de Talleyrand details of the engagements to which he had 
pledged himself, he kept that one secret.* 

The Minister having set out for Presburg, Bonaparte re- 
turned to Vienna, and took up his abode in the palace at 
Schonbrunn. He occupied himself in reviewing his army, 
verifying his losses, and reforming each corps as it presented 
itself for inspection. In his pride and satisfaction in the 
results of the campaign, he was good-humored with every- 
body, behaved well to all those members of the Court who 
awaited him at Vienna, and took great pleasure in relating 
the wonders of the war. 

On one point only did he exhibit displeasure. He was 
greatly surprised that his presence produced so little effect 
upon the Viennese, and that it was so difficult to induce 
them to attend the fetes he provided for them, and the din- 
ners at the palace to which he invited them. Bonaparte 
could not understand their attachment to a conquered sov- 

* In the definitive treaty the Tyrol was given to Bavaria in consideration of 
the marriage of the Princess Augusta with Eugene de Beauharnais, Viceroy of 
Italy.-?. R. 


ereign one, too, so much inferior to himself. One day he 
spoke quite openly about this to M. de Kemusat. " You 
have passed some time at Vienna," he said, " and have had 
opportunities of observing them. What a strange people 
they are ! They seem insensible alike to glory and to re- 
verses." M. de Remusat, who had formed a high opinion 
of the Viennese, and admired their disinterested and loyal 
character, replied by praising them, and relating several in- 
stances of their attachment to their sovereign of which he 
had been an eye-witness. " But," said Bonaparte, " they 
must sometimes have talked of me. "What do they say ? " 
" Sire," answered M. de Kemusat, " they say, 'The Emperor 
Napoleon is a great man, it is true ; but our Emperor is per- 
fectly good, and we can love none but him.' " These senti- 
ments, which were all unchanged by misfortune, were in- 
comprehensible to a man who recognized no merit except in 
success. When, after his return to Paris, he heard of the 
touching reception given by the Viennese to their vanquished 
Emperor, he exclaimed : " What people ! If I came back 
to Paris thus, I should certainly not be received after that 

A few days after the Emperor's return, M. de Talleyrand 
arrived at Vienna from Presburg, to the great surprise of 
everybody. The Austrian ministers at Presburg had brought 
forward the subject of the Tyrol ; he had been obliged to 
admit that he had no instructions on that point, and he now 
came to obtain them. He was much displeased at having 
been treated in such a manner. When he spoke of this to 
the Emperor, the latter told him that in a yielding moment, 
of which he now repented, he had acceded to the request of 
the Emperor Francis, but that he was quite resolved not to 
keep his word. M. de Remusat told me that M. de Talley- 
rand, of whom he saw a great deal at this time, was really 
indignant. Not only did he perceive that war was about to 
begin again, but that the Cabinet of France was stained by 
perfidy, and a portion of the dishonor would inevitably fall 


upon him. His mission to Presburg would henceforth be 
ridiculous, would show how little influence over his master 
he possessed, and would destroy his personal credit in Europe, 
which he took such care to preserve. The marshals raised 
their war-cry anew. Murat, Berthier, Maret, all the flatter- 
ers of the Emperor's ruling passion, seeing to which side he 
leaned, urged him on toward what they called " glory." M. 
de Talleyrand had to bear reproaches from every one, and 
he often said to my husband, bitterly enough : " I find no one 
but yourself here to show me any friendship ; it would take 
very little more to make those people regard me as a traitor." 
His conduct at this period, and his patience, did him honor. 
He succeeded in bringing the Emperor back to his way of 
thinking upon the necessity of making peace, and, after 
having extracted from him the final word which he required, 
he set out a second time for Presburg, better satisfied, al- 
though he could not obtain the restitution of the Tyrol. On 
taking leave of M. de Eemusat, he said, " I shall settle the 
affair of the Tyrol, and induce the Emperor to make peace, 
in spite of himself." 

During Bonaparte's stay at Schonbrunn he received a 
letter from Prince Charles, to the effect that, being full of 
admiration for his person, the Prince wished to see and con- 
verse with him. The Emperor, flattered by this compliment 
from a man who enjoyed a high reputation in Europe, fixed 
upon a small hunting-lodge a few leagues from the palace as 
the place of meeting, and directed M. de Remusat to join 
the other persons who were to accompany him. He also 
bade him take with him a very richly mounted sword. 
" After our conversation," said he, " you will hand it to me. 
I wish to present it to the Prince on leaving him." 

The Emperor joined the Prince, and they remained in 
private conference for some time. "When he came out of 
the room my husband approached him, according to the 
orders he had received. Bonaparte impatiently waved him 
off, telling him that he might take the sword away;' and 


when he returned to Schonbrunn he spoke slightingly of the 
Prince, saying that he had found him very commonplace, 
and by no means worthy of the present he had intended for 

I must now relate an incident which concerned M. de 
Remusat personally, and which once more checked the favor 
that the Emperor seemed disposed to extend toward him. I 
have frequently remarked that our destiny always arranged 
matters so that we should not profit by the advantages of our 
position, but since that time I have often felt thankful to 
Providence ; for that very contrariety preserved us from a 
more disastrous fall. 

In the early years of the Consular Government the 
King's party had clung to the hope of a revival of favorable 
chances for him in France, and they had more than once 
tried to establish an understanding with the country. M. 
d' Andre, formerly a deputy to the Constituent Assembly, an 
emigre, and devoted to the royal cause, had undertaken 
Royalist missions to some of the sovereigns of Europe, and 
Bonaparte was perfectly aware of that fact. M. d' Andre 
was, like M. de Remusat, a native of Provence, and they 
had been schoolfellows. M. d' Andre had also been a magis- 
trate prior to the Revolution (he was Councilor to the Par- 
liament of Aix), and, although they did not keep up any 
mutual relations, they were not entirely strangers. At the 
period of which I am writing, M. d' Andre, disheartened by 
the failure of his fruitless efforts, convinced that the Impe- 
rial cause was absolutely victorious, and weary of a wander- 
ing life and consequently straitened means, was longing to 
return to his own country. Being in Hungary during the 
campaign of 1805, he sent his wife to Vienna, and appealed 
to his friend General Mathieu Dumas to obtain leave for 
him. The General, although rather alarmed at having to 

* This is a softened version of what the Emperor said. The truth is that, 
when his Chamberlain drew near to remind him of his intentions and to hand 
him the sword, the Emperor said : " Let me alone ; he's a fool ! " 

M. DE ANDR& 313 

undertake such a mission, promised to take steps in the mat- 
ter, but advised Mine, d' Andre to see M. de Remusat and 
procure his interest. One morning Mme. d' Andre arrived. 
My husband received her as he conceived he ought to re- 
ceive the wife of a former friend ; he was much concerned 
at the position in which she represented M. d' Andre to be, 
and, not knowing that there were particular circumstances in 
the case which were likely to render the Emperor implacable, 
thinking besides that his victories might incline him to clem- 
ency, consented to present her petition. His official position 
as Keeper of the Wardrobe gave him the right to enter the 
Emperor's dressing-room. He hastened down to his Majes- 
ty's apartment, and found him half dressed and in a good 
humor, whereupon he immediately gave him an account of 
Mme. d' Andre's visit, and preferred the request which he had 
undertaken to urge. 

At the mention of the name of M. d' Andre the Emper- 
or's face darkened. " Do you know," said he, " that you are 
talking to me of a mortal enemy ? " " No, sire," replied M. 
de Remusat; "I am ignorant whether your Majesty has 
really reason to complain of him ; but, if such be the case, I 
would venture to ask pardon for him. M. d' Andre is poor 
and proscribed ; he asks only that he may return and grow 
old in our common country." "Have you any relations 
with him?" "None, sire." "And why do you interest 
yourself in him 2 " " Sire, he is a Provencal ; he was edu- 
cated with me at Juilly, he is of my own profession, and he 
was my friend." " You are very fortunate," said the Em- 
peror, darting a fierce glance at him, " to have such motives 
to excuse you. Never speak of him to me again ; and know 
this: if he were at Vienna, and I could get hold of him, 
he should be hanged within twenty-four hours." Having 
said these words, the Emperor turned his back on M. de 

Wherever the Emperor was with his Court, he habitually 
held what was called his levee every morning. So soon as 


he was dressed, he entered a reception-room, and those per- 
sons who formed what was called the " service " were sum- 
moned. These were the great officers of his household, M. 
de Remusat, as Keeper of the Wardrobe and First Cham- 
berlain, and the generals of his guard. The second levee 
was composed of the Chamberlains, of such generals of the 
army as could present themselves, and, in Paris, of the Pre- 
fect of Paris, the Prefect of Police, the Princes, and the 
Ministers. Sometimes he greeted all these personages 
silently, with a mere bow, and dismissed them at once. 
He gave orders when it was necessary, and he did not hesi- 
tate to scold any one with whom he was displeased, without 
the slightest regard to the awkwardness of giving or receiv- 
ing reprimands before a crowd of witnesses. . 

After he left M. de Remusat, the Emperor held his 
levee ; then he sent everybody away, and held a long con- 
versation with General Savary. On its conclusion, Savary 
rejoined my husband in one of the reception-rooms, took 
him aside, and addressed him after a fashion which would 
appear very strange to any one unacquainted with the crudity 
of the General's principles in certain matters. 

" Let me congratulate you," said he, accosting M. de Re"- 
musat, " on a fine opportunity of making your fortune, of 
which I strongly advise you to avail yourself. You played 
a dangerous game just now by talking to the Emperor of 
M. d' Andre", but all may be set right again. Where is he ? 
But, now I think, of it, he is in Hungary at least, his wife 
told me so. Ah, bah ! don't dissimulate about it. The Em- 
peror believes that he is in Yienna ; he is convinced that you 
know where he is, and he wants you to tell." " I assure 
you, General," replied M. de Remusat, " that I am abso- 
lutely ignorant of where he is. I had no correspondence 
with him. His wife came to see me to-day for the first 
time ; she begged me to speak for her husband to the Em- 
peror ; I have done so, and that is all." " Well, then, if 
that be so, send for her to come to you again. She will 


have no suspicion of you. Make her talk, and try to elicit 
from her where her husband is. You can not imagine how 
much you will please the Emperor by rendering him this 

M. de Remusat, utterly confounded at this speech, was 
quite unable to conceal his astonishment. " What ! " he ex- 
claimed, " you make such a proposal as that to me ? I told 
the Emperor that I was the friend of M. d' Andre; you 
also know that, and you would have me betray him, give 
him up, and that by means of his wife, who has trusted 
me ! " Savary was astonished, in his turn, at the indigna- 
tion of M. de Remusat. "What f oily ! " said he. "Take 
care you do not spoil your luck ! The Emperor has more 
than once had occasion to doubt that you are as entirely de- 
voted to him as he would have you to be. Now, here is an 
opportunity for removing his suspicions, and you will be 
very unwise if you let it escape." 

The conversation lasted for some time. M. de Remusat 
was, of course, unshaken ; he assured Savary that, far from 
seeking out Mme. d' Andre, he would not even consent to see 
her, and he informed her, through General Mathieu Dumas, 
of the failure of his mission. Savary returned to the sub- 
ject in the course of the day, and said, over and over again : 
" You are throwing away your chances ; I confess I can not 
make you out." " That does not matter," my husband would 

And, in fact, the Emperor did resent this refusal, and 
assumed toward M. de Remusat the harsh, icy tone which 
was always a mark of his displeasure. M. de Remusat en- 
dured it with resignation, and complained only to Duroc, the 
Grand Marshal of the Palace, who understood his difficulty 
better than Savary could, but regretted that anything should 
have occurred to diminish his favor with Bonaparte. He 
also congratulated my husband on his conduct, which seemed 
to him an act of the greatest courage ; for not to obey the Em- 
peror was, in his eyes, the most wonderful thing in the world. 


Duroc was a man of a singular character. His mind was 
narrow ; his feelings and thoughts were always, perhaps de- 
liberately, confined to a small circle ; but he lacked neither 
cleverness nor clear-sightedness. He was filled, perhaps, 
rather with submission than devotion to Bonaparte, and be- 
lieved that no one placed near him could use any or every 
faculty better than in exactly obeying him. 

In order not to fail in this, which he considered a strict 
duty, he would not allow himself even a thought beyond 
the obligations of his post. Cold, silent, and impenetrable 
as to every secret confided to him, I believe he had made it 
a law to himself never to reflect on the orders he received. 
He did not flatter the Emperor ; he did not seek to please 
him by tale-bearing, which, though often tending to no re- 
sult, was yet gratifying to Bonaparte's naturally suspicious 
mind ; but, like a mirror, Duroc reflected for his master all 
that had taken place in his presence, and, like an echo, he 
repeated his master's words in the same tone and manner in 
which they had been uttered. Were we to have fallen dead 
before his eyes in consequence of a message of which he was 
the bearer, he would still have delivered it with imperturba- 
ble precision. 

I do not think he ever inquired of himself whether the 
Emperor was or was not a great man ; he was the master, 
and that was enough. His obedience made him of great use 
to the Emperor ; the interior of the palace, the entire man- 
agement of the household and its expenditure, was his 
charge, and everything was regulated with perfect brder and 
extreme economy, and yet with great magnificence. 

Marshal Duroc had married a Spanish lady of great for- 
tune, little beauty, and a good deal of intelligence. She was 
the daughter of a Spanish banker named Hervas, who had 
been employed in some second-rate diplomatic capacity, and 
had subsequently been created Marquis d'Abruenara. He 
was Minister in Spain under Joseph Bonaparte. Mme. Du- 
roc had been brought up at Mme. Campan's school, where 

DUROC. 317 

Mme. Louis Bonaparte, Mme. Savary, Mme. Davoust, Mme. 
Ney, and others, had also been educated. 

She and her husband lived together on good terms, but 
without that perfect union which is so great a source of con- 
solation to those who have to endure the restraints of a 
Coiirt. He would not allow her to hold an opinion of her 
own on passing events, or to have any familiar friend ; and 
he had none himself. I have never known any one who 
felt less need of friendship, or who cared less for the plea- 
sures of conversation. He had not the slightest idea of social 
life ; he did not know the meaning of a taste for literature 
or art ; and this indifference to things in general, which he 
combined with the most perfect obedience to orders, while 
he never showed any sign of weariness or constraint, nor yet 
the slightest appearance of enthusiasm, made him quite a 
remarkable character, and interesting to observe. He was 
greatly esteemed at Court, or at any rate was of great im- 
portance. Everything was referred to him, and to him all 
complaints were addressed. He attended to everybody, sel- 
dom offering an opinion, still less a counsel ; but he listened 
with attention, faithfully reported what was said, and never 
showed either the slightest mark of ill will or the least sign 
of interest.* 

* " This sketch of the Due de Friuli," writes my father, " is in perfect con- 
formity with all well-founded contemporary opinion. Few men have ever been 
more harsh, more cold, more selfish, without bearing any ill will to others. His 
justice, his honesty, his trustworthiness were incomparable. He had great tal- 
ent for organization. But there was one curious fact of which my mother seems 
to have been unaware, although it is acknowledged to have been true : he did 
not like the Emperor, or, at any rate, judged him with severity. In later times 
he was wearied out by Bonaparte's temper, and still more by his system of gov- 
ernment, and on the day preceding his death he let this be perceived, even by 
the Emperor." Marshal Marmont, who knew him well, has left a sketch of bis 
character which bears all the marks of truth : " The Emperor felt for him what 
in such a man was almost friendship, for he wrote thus from Haynau, on June 7, 
1813, to Mme. de Montesquieu : * The death of the Due de Friuli grieves me. 
It is the first time for twenty years that he has not divined what would give me 
pleasure.' "-P. JL 


Bonaparte, who had great skill in utilizing men, liked to 
be served by one who stood so completely apart from others. 
There was no danger in aggrandizing such a man as this ; he 
therefore loaded him with honors and riches. His gifts to 
Savary, which were also very considerable, were dictated by 
a different motive. " That is a man," he used to say, "who 
must continually be bought; he would belong to any one 
who would give him a crown more than I do." And yet, 
strange to say, notwithstanding this feeling, Bonaparte trusted 
him, or at any rate believed the tales he brought. He knew, 
in truth, that Savary would refuse him nothing, and he would 
say of him sometimes, " If I ordered Savary to rid himself 
of his wife and children, I am sure he would not hesitate." 

Savary, though an object of general terror, was, in spite 
of his mode of life and his actions, hidden or otherwise, not 
radically a bad man. Love of money was his ruling passion. 
He had no military talent, and was even accused by his brave 
comrades of being wanting in courage on the battle-field. 
He had, therefore, to build up his fortune in a different 
fashion from that of his companions in arms.* He per- 
ceived a way open to him in the system of cunning and 
tale-bearing which Bonaparte favored; and, having once 
entered on it, it was not possible for him to retrace his steps. 
He was, intrinsically, better than his reputation ; that is, his 
first impulses were superior to his subsequent action. He 
was not wanting in natural ability ; could be kindled to a 
momentary enthusiasm of the imagination ; was ignorant, 
but with a desire for information, and had an instinctively 
right judgment. He was rather a liar than a deceitful man ; 
harsh in manner, but very timid in reality. He had reasons 
of his own for knowing Bonaparte and trembling before 
him. Nevertheless, while he was Minister, he ventured on 

* During the campaign, a large coffer of gold was intrusted to him, to meet 
the charges of the secret police which he conducted for the Emperor, both in 
the army and in the conquered cities. He discharged this trust with great skill. 
In no place was a word spoken or a deed done of which he was not informed. 


some show of opposition, and then appeared to entertain a 
certain desire to gain public esteem. He, perhaps, like 
many others, owed the development of his views to the 
times he lived in, which stifled the better side of his charac- 
ter. The Emperor sedulously cultivated evil passions in the 
men who served him, and they flourished abundantly under 
his reign. 

To return. M. de Talleyrand's negotiations were slowly 
advancing. In spite of every obstacle, he succeeded, by 
means of correspondence, in persuading the Emperor to 
make peace; and the Tyrol, that stumbling-block of the 
treaty, was ceded by the Emperor Francis to the King of 
Bavaria. When, a few years afterward, the Emperor had 
quarreled with M. de Talleyrand, he would angrily refer to 
this treaty, and complain that his Minister had wrested from 
him the fruit of victory, and brought about the second Aus- 
trian campaign by leaving too much power in the hands of 
the sovereign of that country. 

The Emperor had time, before leaving Vienna, to receive 
a deputation from four of the mayors of the city of Paris, 
who came to congratulate him on his victories. Shortly 
afterward he departed for Munich, having announced that he 
was about to place the regal crown on the head of the Elec- 
tor of Bavaria, and to conclude the marriage of Prince 

The Empress, who had been staying at Munich for some 
time, was overjoyed at a union which would ally her son 
with the greatest houses of Europe. She greatly wished that 
Mme. Louis Bonaparte should be present at the ceremony ; 
but the request met with an obstinate refusal from Louis, 
and, as usual, his wife was obliged to submit. 

The Emperor, who also wished to introduce a kinswoman 
to the Bavarians, summoned. Mme. Murat to Munich. She 
came thither with mingled feelings. The pleasure of being 
regarded as a person of importance, and of displaying her- 
self, was damped by the elevation of the Beauharnais family; 


and she had some difficulty, as I shall presently relate, in 
concealing her dissatisfaction. 

M. de Talleyrand returned to the Court after signing the 
treaty, and once more peace seemed restored to Europe at 
any rate, for a time. Peace was signed on Christmas Day, 

In this treaty the Emperor of Austria recognized the Em- 
peror Napoleon as King of Italy. He ceded the Venetian 
States to the kingdom of Italy. He recognized the Electors 
of Bavaria and Wurtemburg as kings, ceding to the former 
several principalities and the Tyrol, to the latter a number 
of towns, and to the Elector of Baden part of the Brisgau. 

The Emperor Napoleon undertook to obtain the princi- 
pality of "Wurzburg from the King of Bavaria for the Arch- 
duke Ferdinand, who had been Grand Duke of Tuscany. 
The Yenetian States were to be handed over within a fort- 
night. These were the principal conditions of the treaty. 



State of Paris during the "War Cambace'res Le Brun Mme. Louis Bonaparte 
Marriage of Eugene de Beauharnais Bulletins and Proclamations Admiration 
of the Emperor for the Queen of Bavaria Jealousy of the Empress M. de Nan- 

souty Mme. de .Conquest of Naples Position and Character of the 


I HAVE already described the dullness and depression of 
Paris during this campaign, and the sufferings of every class 
of society from the renewal of war. Money had become 
still more scarce ; in fact, it attained such a price that, being 
obliged to send some in haste to my husband, I had to pay 
ninety francs merely for obtaining gold for a thousand-franc 
bank-note. Such an opportunity of spreading and increasing 
the general anxiety was, of course, turned to advantage by 
the malcontents. Warned by former experience, and alarmed 
by the imprudence of certain utterances, I held aloof from 
every one, seeing only my own friends and persons who could 
not involve me in any difficulty. 

When the Princes or Princesses of the Imperial family 
held their receptions, I went, as did others, to pay my respects 
to them, and also to the Arch-Chancellor Cambaceres, who 
would have been highly displeased at any neglect. He gave 
grand dinners, and held receptions twice a week. He resided 
in a large house on the Carrousel, which has since been con- 
verted into the Hotel des Cent Suisses.* At seven in the 

* This hotel was pulled down in the reign of Louis Philippe. P. R. 


evening a line of carriages would generally stretch across the 
Carrousel, and Cambaceres would note its length from his 
window with delight. Some time was occupied in getting 
into the courtyard and reaching the foot of the staircase. At 
the door of the first reception-room an attendant announced 
the guest's name in a loud voice ; this was repeated until the 
presence-chamber was reached. There an immense crowd 
would be collected; there were two or three rows of wo- 
men ; the men stood close together, forming a sort of passage 
from one angle of the room to the opposite corner. Up 
and down this walked Cambaceres with great gravity, cov- 
ered with decorations, and usually wearing all his orders 
and diamonds; on his head an enormous powdered wig. 
He kept on making civil little speeches right and left. 
When we felt quite sure he had seen us, especially if he had 
spoken, it was the custom to retire, and thus make room for 
others. We frequently had to wait a long time for our car- 
riages, and the surest way to be agreeable to Cambaceres was 
to tell him, the next time, of the inconvenience caused by the 
numberless vehicles in the Place all crowding toward his 

Fewer persons went to the receptions of the Arch-Trea- 
surer Le Brun, who seemed to attach less importance to 
these outward observances, and lived quietly. But, although 
he had not the foibles of his colleague, he was also deficient 
in some of his qualities. Cambaceres was a kind-hearted 
man ; he received petitions graciously, and, if he promised 
to support them, his word could be relied on. Le Brun's 
only care was to amass a fortune, which became considerable. 
He was a selfish, cunning old man, who never did any good 
to anybody. 

The member of the Imperial family whom I saw most 
frequently was Mme. Louis Bonaparte. People came to her 
house of an evening to hear the news. 

In December, 1805, a report having been spread that the 
English were likely to descend on the Dutch coast, Louis 


Bonaparte received commands to travel through Holland, 
and to inspect the Army of the North. His absence, which 
gave a little more freedom to his wife, and was a relief to 
his household, who held him in awe and aversion, enabled 
Mme. Louis to pass her evenings pleasantly. Music and 
drawing at a large table in the center of the salon were the 
chief amusements. Mme. Louis had a great taste for the 
arts : she composed charming ballads ; she painted well ; she 
liked the society of artists. Her only fault, perhaps, was in 
not maintaining the ceremonious demeanor in her house de- 
manded by the rank to which she had been elevated. She 
always remained on intimate terms with her schoolfellows, 
and with the young married women who habitually visited 
her, and her manners retained something of the freedom of 
those school-days. This gave rise to remark and censure.* 

After a long silence respecting the movements of the 
army, which produced general uneasiness, Le Brun, aide-de- 
camp to the Emperor, and a son of the Arch-Treasurer, was 
dispatched from the battle-field of Austerlitz, and arrived 
one evening with news of the victory, of the succeeding ar- 
mistice, and of the well-founded hope of peace. The news 
was announced at all the theatres, and posted up everywhere 

* Mme. de Remusat's feelings toward Queen Hortense and her opinion of 
her character were lasting; for, some years later, on July 12, 1812, she thus 
writes to her husband : 

" Speaking of the Queen, I can not find words in which to tell you the plea- 
sure I take in her society. She is really angelic in disposition, and completely 

different from what is generally supposed. M. F , who when he came was 

full of prejudice against her, is quite captivated. She is so true, so pure- 
hearted, so perfectly ignorant of evil ; there is about her so sweet a melancholy ; 
she seemed so resigned to whatever may happen, that it is impossible not to be 
deeply impressed by her. Her health is good ; she dislikes this rainy weather, 
because she is fond of walking ; she reads a great deal, and would like to make 
up for the defects of her education in certain respects. Her children's tutor 
makes her work hard ; sometimes she laughs at the pains she takes, and she 
is right. Nevertheless, I wish a more enlightened person were directing her 
studies. She has reached an age when study should be pursued rather to teach 
us to think than to know, and history should not be learned at five and twenty 
as it is at ten years old." P. R. 


on the following day. It produced a great effect, and dis- 
pelled the gloom and apathy of Paris. 

It was impossible not to be elated by so great a success, 
and not to take the side of glory and of fortune. The 
French were carried away by the description of the victory, 
to which nothing was wanting, since it terminated the war ; 
and this time again there was no need to prescribe public 
rejoicing : the nation identified itself with the success of its 

I look upon this period as the zenith of Bonaparte's good 
fortune, for his mighty deeds were made their own by the 
bulk of his people. Afterward, doubtless, he increased in 
power and in authority, but he had to bespeak enthusiasm, 
and, though he sometimes succeeded in enforcing it, the 
efforts he was obliged to make must have lessened the value 
of the applause. 

In the midst of the pride and delight displayed by the 
city of Paris, it may well be believed that the great bodies 
of the State and the public officers did not neglect the oppor- 
tunity of expressing the general admiration in high-flown 
language. "When we now read the speeches delivered on 
the occasion in the Senate and the Tribunate, the orations of 
prefects and mayors, the pastoral letters of bishops, one won- 
ders if it be possible that a human head should not be turned 
by such excess of praise. Every glory of the past was to 
fade before that of Bonaparte ; the greatest names were to 
drop into obscurity ; fame would thenceforth blush at what 
she had formerly proclaimed, etc., etc. 

On the 31st of December the Tribunate was assembled, 
and Fabre de PAude, the President, announced the return 
of a deputation which had been sent to the Emperor. Its 
members had brought back a glowing account of the mar- 
vels they had witnessed. A great number of flags had also 
arrived. The Emperor bestowed eight on the city of Paris, 
eight on the Tribunate, and fifty-four on the Senate ; the 
entire Tribunate was to present the latter. 


On the conclusion of the President's speech, a crowd of 
tribunes rushed forward to propose what was called des mo- 
tions de vceux. One of them moved that a gold medal should 
be struck ; another, that a public monument should be erect- 
ed ; that the Emperor should receive the honors of a triumph, 
after the old fashion of imperial Rome ; that the whole city 
of Paris should go forth to meet him. "Language," said 
one member, " can not attain such height of grandeur, nor 
express the emotions it calls forth." 

Carrion-Nisas proposed that, on the proclamation of the 
general peace, the sword worn by the Emperor at the battle 
of Austerlitz should be solemnly consecrated. Each speaker 
endeavored to surpass the others, and certainly, during this 
sitting, which lasted several hours, all that flattery could sug- 
gest to the imagination was exhausted. And yet this very 
Tribunate was a source of anxiety to the Emperor, because 
it contained in itself a semblance of liberty ; and he subse- 
quently abolished it in order to consolidate his despotic 
power, even in the smallest outward signs. When Bona- 
parte " eliminated " the Tribunate (this was the technical 
expression for that measure), he did not shrink from using 
these words : " This is my final break with the Republic." 

The Tribunate, having arranged to carry the flags to the 
Senate on the 1st of January, 1806, decided that on the same 
occasion it should be proposed to erect a column. The Sen- 
ate hastened to pass a decree to this effect, and also decreed 
that the Emperor's letter, which had accompanied the flags, 
should be engraved on marble and placed in the Hall of As- 
sembly. The senators on this occasion rose to the height at- 
tained by the tribunes. 

Preparations were now made for the rejoicings which 
were to take place on the return of the Emperor. M. de 
Remusat sent orders, through me, for the performance of 
various pieces containing appropriate passages at the theatres. 
The Theatre Frangais having selected " Gaston et Bayard," 
some slight changes were made by the police in certain lines 


that were deemed inadmissible.* The Opera House pre- 
pared a new piece. 

Meanwhile the Emperor, after receiving the signature of 
the peace, was preparing to quit Vienna, and addressed its 
inhabitants in a proclamation full of compliments, both to 
themselves and to their sovereign. It ended thus : 

" I have shown myself little among you, not from disdain 
or a vain pride, but I did not wish to interfere with the feel- 
ings due to your sovereign, with whom it was my intention 
to make a prompt peace." 

We have already seen what were the Emperor's real mo- 
tives for remaining in retirement at Schonbrunn. 

Although, in point of fact, the French army had been 
kept under tolerable discipline while in Yienna, there can be 
no doubt that the inhabitants were overjoyed at the depar- 
ture of the guests they had been obliged to receive, to lodge, 
and to feed liberally. To give an idea of the consideration 
with which our vanquished enemies were forced to treat us, 
it will be sufficient to state that Generals Junot f and Bes- 
sieres, who were quartered on Prince Esterhazy, were daily 
supplied from Hungary with every delicacy of the table, 
including Tokay. This was due to the generosity of the 
Prince, who defrayed the whole cost. 

I recollect hearing M. de Remusat relate that, on the ar- 
rival of the Emperor at Yienna, the Imperial cellars were 
explored in search of this same Tokay, and much surprise 
was expressed that not a single bottle was forthcoming ; all 
had been carefully removed by the orders of Francis. 

The Emperor reached Munich on the 31st of December, 

* The line "Et suivre les Bourbons, c'est marcher a la gloire" (To follow 
the Bourbons is to march to glory), was replaced by " Et suivre les Frangais, 
c'est marcher a la gloire" (To follow the French is to march to glory). 

f Junot was a true soldier of fortune. He had a good deal of natural 
humor. On one occasion the exclusiveness of the old French nobility was 
spoken of before him. " And why," said he, " are all these people so angered 
at our elevation ? The only difference between them and me is that they are 
descendants, while I am an ancestor ! " 


and on the next day proclaimed the Elector of Bavaria King. 
He announced this in a letter to the Senate, in which he also 
made known his adoption of Prince Eugene, and the mar- 
riage of the latter, which was to take place before the Em- 
peror's return to Paris. 

Prince Eugene hastened to Munich, having first taken 
possession of the States of Venice, and reassured his new 
subjects, as far as possible, by dignified and moderate proc- 

The Emperor felt himself bound also to bestow some 
praise on the army of Italy. A bulletin says : " The Italians 
have displayed great spirit. The Emperor has frequently 
said : ' Why should not my Italian people appear gloriously 
on the world's stage ? They are full of intelligence and pas- 
sion ; it will be easy henceforth to give them soldierly quali- 
ties.' ' : He made a few more proclamations to his army, in 
his usual turgid style, but they are said to have produced a 
great effect on the army. 

He issued one decree which would have been good if it 
had been put into execution. "We adopt," he said, "the 
children of those generals, officers, and privates who lost 
their lives at the battle of Austerlitz. They shall be brought 
up at Rambouillet and at St. Germain, and placed out* in the 
world, or suitably married by our care. To their own names 
they shall add that of Napoleon." 

The Elector, or rather the King, of Bavaria is a younger 
son of the house of Deux-Ponts, who came to the Electorate 
through the extinction of that branch of his family which 
was governing Bavaria. In the reign of Louis XVI. he was 
sent to France a ad placed in the King's service. He soon 
obtained a regiment, and resided for a considerable time* either 
in Paris or in garrison at one of our towns. He became 
attached to France, and left behind him the recollection of 
much kindness of disposition and cordiality of manner. He 
was known as Prince Max. He declined, however, to marry 
in France. The Prince de Conde offered him his daughter ; 


but his father and his uncle, the Elector, objected to the 
match on the grounds that Prince Max, not being rich, 
would probably have to make canonesses of some of his 
daughters, and that the admixture in their veins of the blood 
of Louis XIY. with that of Mme. de Montespan would be 
an obstacle to their admittance into certain chapters. 

When, at a later period, this Prince succeeded to the 
Electorate, he always retained an affectionate remembrance 
of France, and a sincere attachment to her people. Having 
become King by the will of the Emperor, he took pains to 
prove his gratitude by a splendid welcome, and he received 
all the French with extreme kindness. It may well be im- 
agined that not for one moment did he dream of declining 
the proposed marriage for his daughter. The young Prin- 
cess was tllen seventeen or eighteen years of age, and pos- 
sessed attractive qualities, as well as personal charms. The 
marriage, which was due to political reasons, became the 
source of uninterrupted happiness to Eugene. Princess 
Augusta of Bavaria attached herself warmly to the husband 
chosen for her ; she aided him in no small measure to win 
the hearts of the Italians. With beauty, sense, piety, and 
amiability, she could not fail to be tenderly beloved by Prince 
Eugene, and at the present day they are settled in Bavaria, 
and enjoy the happiness of a perfect union.* 

* Prince Eugene de Beauharnais died in 1824. The Emperor announced 
his marriage to him in the following terms, in a letter dated Munich, 19 Nivose, 
year 14 (31st December, 1805): "My cousin, I have arrived at Munich. I have 
arranged a marriage for you with Princess Augusta. It has been announced. 
The Princess paid me a visit this morning, and I conversed with her for a con- 
siderable time. She is very pretty. You will see her portrait on the tazza which 
accompanies this, but she is much better-looking." The Emperor's affection for 
the Viceroy of Italy was extended in full measure to the Princess, who from the 
first had impressed him so favorably, and his letters are full of solicitude for her 
health and happiness. Thus, he writes to her from Stuttgart, on the 17th of 
January, 1806: "My daughter, your letter to me is as charming as yourself. 
My feelings of affection for you will but increase every day ; I know this by the 
pleasure I feel in recalling all your good qualities, and by my desire to receive 
frequent assurances from yourself that you are pleased with everybody and 


During the Emperor's stay at Munich, he took it into his 
head, by way of recreation after his labors of the past months, 
to indulge a fancy, partly political, partly amorous, for the 
Queen of Bavaria. That Princess, who was the King's sec- 
ond wife, without being very beautiful, was of an elegant 
figure and pleasing though dignified manners. I think the 
Emperor pretended to be in love with her. The lookers-on 
said it was amusing to watch the struggle between his impe- 
rious temper and rude manners and the desire to please a 
Princess accustomed to that kind of etiquette which is never 
relaxed in Germany on any occasion whatever. The Queen 
of Bavaria contrived to exact respect from her strange ad- 
mirer, and yet seemed to be amused with his devotion. The 

happy in your husband. Among all my other cares, there will be none dearer 
to me than those which may insure the happiness of my children. Believe me, 
Augusta, I love you as a father, and I rely on your filial tenderness. Take care 
of yourself on your journey, and also in the new climate to which you are travel- 
ing, by taking all necessary rest. You have had much to try you for a month 
past. Remember that I must not have you ill." 

A few months later he writes to Prince Eugene : " My son, you work too 
hard ; your life is too monotonous. It is good for you, because your work should 
be your recreation ; but you have a young wife, who is just now in a delicate 
state. I think you should contrive to pass your evenings with her, and to gather 
some society round you. Why don't you go to the theatre once a week in a 
state box ? I think you should have also a small hunting establishment, and 
hunt at least once a week ; I would willingly devote a grant to this object. 
There must be more gayety in your house ; it is necessary for your wife's happi- 
ness and your own health. A great deal of work can be got through in a short 
tune. I am leading the life that you lead, but I have an old wife who does not 
need me for her amusements ; I have also more work than you, yet I can say 
truly I take more pleasure and diversion than you do. A young wife requires 
amusement, especially when in the state of health she now is. You liked plea- 
sure pretty well in former times ; you must return to it. What you might not 
choose to do for yourself, you must do out of duty toward the Princess. I have 
just established myself at Saint Cloud. Stephanie and the Prince of Baden get 
on pretty well together. I spent the last two days at Marshal Bessieres's ; we 
behaved like lads of fifteen. You were formerly in the habit of rising early ; 
you should return to that custom. This would not disturb the Princess, if you 
retired to rest with her at eleven o'clock ; and, by leaving off work at six in the 
evening, you would still have had ten hours for work, if you rise at seven or 
eight o'clock." P. R. 


Empress considered her to be more coquettish than was de- 
sirable, and the whole business made her anxious to get away 
quickly from the Bavarian Court, and spoilt the pleasure she 
would otherwise have felt in her son's marriage. 

At the same time, Mme. Murat took offense because the 
new Yice-Queen, who had become the adopted daughter of 
Napoleon, took precedence of her on ceremonial occasions. 
She feigned illness in order to avoid what seemed to her an 
affront, and her brother was obliged to get into a rage with 
her, to prevent her from too plainly exhibiting her discontent. 
Had we not actually witnessed the rapid rise of certain pre- 
tensions in those who are the favorites of fortune, we should 
have been astonished at these sudden bursts of temper in 
princes of so recent a date that they could scarcely yet have 
become accustomed to the advantages and rights appertain- 
ing to their rank. This spectacle we have, however, beheld 
so frequently that we are not surprised, but merely admit 
that no human passion is so easily aroused, or grows so rap- 
idly, as vanity. 

Bonaparte had always been well aware of this, and he 
used the knowledge as his surest method of governing. 
"While at Munich, he made many promotions in the army. 
He gave a regiment of Carbineers to his brother-in-law, 
Prince Borghese. He rewarded several officers by promo- 
tion, or by the Legion of Honor. Among others, he created 
M. de Nansouty, my brother-in-law, grand officer of the 
order. He was a brave man, esteemed in the army, straight- 
forward, and endowed with a keen sense of duty, not very 
common, unfortunately, among our military chiefs. He left 
behind him in a foreign country a reputation which is very 
honorable to his family.* 

The Emperor's military Court, encouraged by their mas- 
ter's example, and, like him, flushed with victory, took great 

* On the occasion of the first return of the King, his Majesty gave M. de 
Nansouty the command of a company of Gray Musketeers. He fell ill shortly 
afterward, and died one month before the 20th of March, 1815. 

MME. DE C . 331 

pleasure in the society of the ladies who had accompanied 
the Empress. It seemed as if Love was now to have his 
share of power in a world which had hitherto somewhat 
neglected him ; but it must be admitted that not much time 
was allowed to him for the establishment of his reign, and 
his attacks were of necessity rather brisk. 

"We may date from this period the passion which the 

beautiful Mme. de C inspired in M. de Caulaincourt. 

She had been appointed Lady-in-Waiting in the summer of 
1805. When quite young she had married her cousin, who 
was at that time equerry to the Emperor, and she drew all 
eyes on herself by her striking beauty. M. de Caulaincourt 
fell desperately in love with her, and this feeling, which was 
for several years more or less reciprocal, deterred him from 

thinking of marriage. Mme. de C became more and 

more estranged from her husband, and at last took advantage 
of the law of divorce.* When the return of the King con- 
demned M. de Caulaincourt, otherwise the Duke of Yicenza, 
to a life of obscurity, she resolved to share his ill fortune, 
and married him. 

I have already said that the Emperor announced during 
this campaign his consent to the evacuation of the kingdom 
of Naples by our troops ; but before long he again quarreled 
with the sovereign of that kingdom, either because the King 
did not exactly carry out the treaty that had been concluded 
with him, and was too much under the influence of the Eng- 
lish, who were continually threatening his ports, or because 
the Emperor wished to accomplish his project of subjecting 
the whole of Italy to his own authority. He also thought, 
no doubt, that it would be his best policy to eject the house 
of Bourbon by degrees from the thrones of the Continent. 
Be this as it may, according to custom, and without any pre- 
vious communication, France learned by an order of the day, 

* The Duchess of Vicenza died at a very advanced age in 1878, leaving be- 
hind her the memory of an excellent and distinguished woman. M. de Caulain- 
oourt had died fifty years earlier, in 1828. P. R. 


dated from the Imperial camp at Schonbrunn, 6th Nivose, 
year 14,* that the French army was marching to the con- 
quest of the kingdom of Naples, and would be under the 
command of Joseph Bonaparte, who accordingly repaired 

" We will pardon no longer," so runs the proclamation. 
" The dynasty of Naples has ceased to reign. Its existence 
is incompatible with the repose of Europe and the honor of 
my crown. Soldiers, forward! . . . and delay not to tell 
me that all Italy is subject to my laws or those of my 

allies." f 

It is in this summary tone that Bonaparte, fresh from 
signing treaties of peace, began another war, gave new of- 

* 27th of December, 1805. P. R. 

f The following is the proclamation, which is to the effect indicated by the 
Memoirs, but in still rougher language : 

" Soldiers ! for ten years I have done all I could to save the King of Naples ; 
he has done everything to ruin himself. After the battles of Dego, of Mondovi, 
and of Lodi, he could offer me but feeble resistance. I trusted to his word, and 
I was generous toward him. 

" When the second coalition was dissolved at Marengo, the King of Naples, 
who had been the first to declare this unjust war, was abandoned at Luneville by 
his allies, and remained alone and defenseless. He appealed to me ; for the 
second time I forgave him. But a few months ago you were at the gates of 
Naples. I had sufficient reasons for suspecting the treason that was in prepa- 
ration, and for avenging the insults that had been offered me. Once more I 
acted generously. I recognized the neutrality of Naples; I ordered you to 
evacuate the kingdom ; and for a third time the house of Naples was strength- 
ened and saved. 

"Shall we forgive a fourth time? Shall we rely a fourth time on a Court 
without faith, without honor, without sense ? No, no ! The dynasty of Naples 
has ceased to reign. Its existence is incompatible with the repose of Europe 
and the honor of my crown. 

" Forward, soldiers ! Cast into the ocean, if indeed they wait your arrival, 
the weakly battalions of the tyrants of the seas. Show forth to the world how 
we punish perjury. Make no delay in informing me that all Italy is under my 
laws, or those of my allies ; that the most beautiful country on earth is free 
from the yoke of perfidious men ; that the sanctity of treaties is avenged ; and 
that the manes of my brave soldiers, who were massacred in Sicilian ports on 
their return from Egypt, after they had escaped the dangers of shipwreck, of 
deserts, and of battle, are at last appeased." P. R. 


fense to the sovereigns of Europe, and incited the English 
Government to stir up fresh enemies against himself. 

On the 25th of January the Court of Naples, under the 
pressure of a skillful and victorious enemy, embarked for 
Palermo, abandoning the capital to its new sovereign, who 
would soon take possession of it. Meanwhile the Emperor, 
having been present at the marriage of Prince Eugene on 
the 14th of January, left Munich, and, having received on 
his way through Germany the honors that were invariably 
offered him in every place, reached Paris on the night of 
the 26th to the 27th of January. 

I have thought it well to conclude here the history of 
what was to me Bonaparte's second epoch, because, as I said 
before, I look upon the close of this first campaign as the 
highest pitch of his glory; and for this reason, that now 
the French people again consented to bear their share in it. 

Nothing, perhaps, in the history of circumstances and of 
men, can be compared to the height of power to which he 
attained after the peace of Tilsit ; but, if at that time all 
Europe bent before him, the spell of victory had been 
strangely weakened in France, and our armies, although 
consisting of our own citizens, were beginning to be aliens 
to us. 

The Emperor, who often appreciated things with mathe- 
matical accuracy, was well aware of this ; for, on his return 
from concluding the above treaty, I heard him say, " Mili- 
tary glory, which lasts so long in history, is that which fades 
the quickest among its contemporaries. All our recent bat- 
tles have not produced in France half the effect of the one 
victory of Marengo." 

Had he carried his reflections further, he would have seen 
that the people who are governed need eventually a glory 
that will be of solid use, and that admiration for that which 
bears but a barren brilliancy is soon exhausted. 

In 1806 England was again accused, rightly or wrongly, 
of inciting enmity against us. Supposing her to be with 


justice jealous of our returning prosperity, we did not think 
it impossible that she might endeavor to molest us, even if 
we had in perfect good faith shown every sign of intended 
moderation. We did not think the Emperor had been the 
cause of the last rupture which had destroyed the treaty of 
Amiens ; and, as it seemed impossible for a long time to 
come to compete with the naval power of the English, it 
did not appear to us to be politically wrong to endeavor to 
balance the weight which commerce gave to our enemies by 
the constitution given to Italy that is, by a powerful influ- 
ence on the Continent. 

With such feelings as these, the marvels of this three 
months' campaign could not fail to impress us deeply. Aus- 
tria had been conquered ; the united armies of the two 
greatest sovereigns of Europe had fled before ours ; the 
Czar had retreated ; the Emperor Francis had personally 
sued for peace a peace as yet bearing signs of moderation ; 
kings had been created by our victories ; the daughter of a 
crowned sovereign had been given in marriage to a mere 
French gentleman ; finally, the prompt return of the con- 
queror, which gave hopes of permanent peace, and perhaps 
also a desire to retain our illusions respecting our master a 
desire inspired by human vanity, for men do not like to 
blush for him by whom they are ruled all these things 
again roused national admiration, and were only too favor- 
able to the ambition of the victor. The Emperor perceived 
the progress he had made in popularity, and he concluded, 
with some appearance of probability, that glory would make 
up to us for all the losses we were about to sustain at the 
hands of despotism. He believed that Frenchmen would 
not murmur were but their slavery brilliant, and that we 
would willingly barter all the liberty that the Revolution 
had so hardly won for us, for his dazzling military success. 

Finally, and this was the worst, he saw in war a means 
of stifling the reflections which his mode of government was 
sure sooner or later to evoke, and he reserved it to dazzle us, 


or at least to reduce us to silence. As he felt himself per- 
fectly master of the science of war, he had no fear of its re- 
sults ; and, when he could engage in it with such immense 
armies and such formidable artillery, he felt there was scarce- 
ly any danger to himself. Although in this I may be mis- 
taken, I do believe that, after the campaign of Austerlitz, 
war was rather the result of his system than the gratifica- 
tion of his taste. The first, the real ambition of Napoleon 
was for power, and he would have preferred peace if it could 
have increased his authority. There is a tendency in the 
human mind to bring to perfection anything with which it 
is exclusively occupied. The Emperor, who was continually- 
bent on increasing his power by every possible means, and 
who was becoming accustomed to the exercise of his own will 
on every occasion, became more and more impatient of the 
slightest opposition. The European phalanxes were gradu- 
ally giving way before him, and he began to believe that he 
was destined to regulate the affairs of every continental king- 
dom. He looked with disdain on the progress of the age, 
regarding the French Revolution, which was so solemn a 
warning to sovereigns, only as an event whose results he 
might use to his own advantage ; and he came to despise the 
cry for liberty which for twenty years had been uttered at 
intervals by the people. He was persuaded that he could, at 
any rate, trick them by accomplishing the destruction of what 
had existed, and replacing it by sudden creations, which would 
appear to satisfy that longing for equality which he believed 
with reason to be the ruling passion of the time. 

He tried to turn the French Revolution into a mere freak 
of fortune, a useless disturbance which had merely upset in- 
dividuals. How often has he not made use of these specious 
words, in order to allay apprehension : " The French Revo- 
lution need fear nothing, since the throne of the Bourbons 
is occupied by a soldier " ! And at the same time he would 
assume toward kings the attitude of a protector of thrones 
" for," he would say, " I have abolished republics." Mean- 


while he was dreaming of I know not what half -feudal pro- 
ject, the execution of which must inevitably be full of danger, 
since it drove him to war, and had besides the deplorable 
effect of diminishing the interest he ought to have taken in 
France itself. Our country soon ceased to be anything more 
to him than one large province of that empire which he de- 
sired to bring under his rule. Less interested in our pros- 
perity than in our grandeur, which, in point of fact, was only 
his own, he conceived the idea of making every foreign sov- 
ereign a feudatory of his own power. He believed he should 
attain to this by placing members of his family on the various 
thrones which at the time actually sprang from himself ; and 
we may assure ourselves that this was really his project, by 
attentively reading the form of oath which he exacted from 
the kings or princes created by him. He sometimes said : 
" It is my intention to reach such a point that the kings of 
Europe shall be forced, each one of them, to have a palace in 
Paris ; and, at the time of the coronation of an Emperor of 
the French, they shall take up their residence in it, be present 
at the ceremony, and render it more imposing by their hom- 
age." This, it seems to me, was a sufficiently plain decla- 
ration of his intention of renewing in 1806 the empire of 

But times were changed, and, as the light of knowledge 
spread, the people became capable of forming a judgment as 
to the mode in which they ought to be governed. Besides 
this, the Emperor perceived that the nobles could never again 
exercise influence over the people, which had often been an 
obstacle to the authority of our kings ; and he conceived the 
idea that it was from popular encroachment he must defend 
himself, and that the spirit of the age required him to take a 
contrary course to that which for centuries past had been the 
custom of kings. 

It was the fact that, whereas formerly the nobles had al- 
most always hampered the royal authority, at the present 
time some intermediary creation was needed by that very 


authority, which, in this age of liberal opinions, would natu- 
rally lean to the side of the sovereign, and retard the march 
of pretensions which, from being merely popular, had now 
become national. From this came the reestablishment of a 
nobility, and the renewal of certain privileges which were 
always prudently distributed among distinguished members 
of the ancient nobility, and plebeians who had been ennobled 
by an act of the Imperial will. 

All these things are a proof that the Emperor entertained 
this project of a new kind of feudality fashioned in accord- 
ance with his own ideas. But, besides the obstacles which 
England continually placed in his way, there was another, 
absolutely inherent in his own character. There would seem 
to have been in him two different men. The one, rather 
gigantic than great, but nevertheless prompt to conceive and 
also prompt to execute, laid from time to time some of the 
foundations of the plan he had formed. This man, actuated 
by one single idea, untouched by any secondary impression 
likely to interfere with his projects, had he but taken for his 
aim the good of mankind, would, with such abilities as he 
displayed, have become the one greatest man of the earth ; 
even now he remains, through his perspicacity and his 
strength of will, the most extraordinary. 

The other Bonaparte, forming a kind of uneasy con- 
science to the first, was devoured by anxiety, agitated by 
continual suspicion, a slave to passions which gave him no 
rest, distrustful, fearing every rival greatness, even that 
which he had himself created. If the necessity of political 
institutions was made plain to him, he was struck at the same 
moment by the rights which they must confer on individuals, 
and then, gradually becoming afraid of his own handiwork, 
lie could not resist the temptation to destroy it piecemeal. 
He has been heard to say. after he had restored titles of no- 

V ' 

bility and given inalienable possessions * to his marshals : " I 
have made these people independent ; but I shall know how to 

* Majorats. 


reach them and prevent them from being ungrateful." When 
seized upon by this spirit of distrust of other men, he gave 
himself up to it entirely, and thought only of how to create 
divisions among them. He weakened family ties, and ap- 
plied himself to promote individual rather than general in- 
terests. Sole center of an immense circle, he would have 
liked it to contain as many radii as he had subjects, that they 
might meet nowhere save in him. This suspicious jealousy, 
which incessantly pursued him, fastened like a canker on all 
his undertakings, and prevented him from establishing on a 
solid foundation any of the schemes which his prolific imagi- 
nation was continually inventing. 

After the campaign of Austerlitz he was so inflated with 
success, and with the worship which the people, half dazzled 
and half subjugated, paid to him, that his despotism became 
more than ever intensified. Every citizen felt the yoke that was 
laid on him heavier ; heads were bowed almost perforce before 
his glory, but it was discovered afterward that he had taken 
means to prevent their being lifted again. He surrounded 
himself with new splendor in order to put a greater distance 
between himself and other men. He copied, from German 
customs which he had carefully observed, the whole etiquette 
of courts, which he made a daily slavery, and no one was 
exempt from minute observances which he brought to the 
utmost perfection. 

It must be owned, however, that immediately after a cam- 
paign he was almost obliged to take measures which would 
silence the clamorous pretensions of his followers ; and, when 
he had put these down, it did not occur to him that he ought 
to treat with greater consideration the other classes of citi- 
zens, of far less importance in his eyes. Military men, still 
flushed with victory, would assume a haughty position from 
which it was difficult to bring them down. I have kept a 
letter from M. de Eemusat, written from Schonbrunn, which 
describes very exactly the inflation of the generals, and the 
prudence that was required in order to live peaceably with 


them. " The military profession," he writes, " gives to a 
man's character a certain blunt sincerity, so that he does not 
try to hide the meanest passions. Our heroes, who are ac- 
customed to open war with their enemies, acquire a habit of 
disguising nothing, and see a battle-field in 'any opposition 
they may meet with, of whatever kind. It is curious to hear 
them speak of civilians, and indeed, afterward, to hear them 
discuss each other each depreciating the deeds of the oth- 
ers, attributing a large share of their success to luck ; black- 
ening reputations which we outsiders had thought firmly 
established ; and, in their behavior to us, so puffed up with 
their newly acquired glory that one needs much tact and 
many sacrifices of pride, even of proper pride, to procure 
toleration from them." 

The Emperor noticed this somewhat belligerent attitude 
of the officers of his army. He cared little that it was an- 
noying to civilians, but he would not have it reach a point 
which might be inconvenient to himself. Therefore, while 
still at Munich, he thought proper to rebuke the arrogance 
of his marshals, and on this occasion self-interest induced him 
to use the language of reason. " Kecollect," he said, " that 
you are to be soldiers only when with the army. The title 
of marshal is merely a civil distinction, which gives you the 
honorable rank at my Court that is jour due, but it carries 
with it no authority. On the battle-field you are generals ; 
at Court be merely great nobles, belonging to the State by 
the civil position I created for you when I bestowed on you 
the title which you bear." 

This warning would have produced a greater effect had 
the Emperor ended it with such words as these : "In camp 
or in Court, recollect that your first duty everywhere is to 
be good citizens." He should have held similar language to 
all classes, to whom he was bound to be a protector as well 
as a master ; he should have spoken the same words to all 
Frenchmen, and so have united them in a new equality, not 
adverse to distinctions won by valor. But Bonaparte, as we 


have seen, was always in dread of natural and generous ties, 
and the iron chain of despotism is the only bond he em- 
ployed, because it binds each man, as it were, separately, 
leaving him no commerce with his fellows. 



The Death of Pitt Parliamentary Debates in England Public Works Industrial 
Exhibition New Etiquette Performances at the Opera House and at the 
Come'die Franchise Monotony of the Court Opinions of the Empress Mine. 
Louis Bonaparte Mme. Murat The Bourbons New Ladies-in- Waiting M. 
Mole Mme. d'Houdetot Mme. de Barante. 

WHEN the Emperor arrived in Paris, at the end of Janu- 
ary, 1806, the* death of Pitt, at the age of forty-seven, had 
just occurred in England. His loss was deeply felt by the 
English, and a truly national regret did honor to his mem- 
ory. Parliament, which had just opened, voted a large sum 
to defray his debts, for he died leaving no fortune, and he 
was splendidly buried in Westminster Abbey. When the 
new Ministry was formed, Mr. Fox, his opponent, was made 
Foreign Secretary. The Emperor looked upon the death of 
Pitt as a fortunate event for him, but he soon perceived that 
English policy had not changed, and that the British Govern- 
ment would not relax its endeavors to excite enmity against 
him among the continental Powers.* 

* The debates of the English Parliament and English policy itself were at 
that time so little known in France that the reader must not be surprised if the 
consequences of the death of Pitt are hardly appreciated in these Memoirs. 
When Fox came into office, he took a step which led to overtures of peace. A 
secret negotiation was carried on by Lord Yarmouth, and afterward by Lord 
Lauderdale, and until the middle of summer there was a chance of mutual un- 
derstanding. But Fox was in failing health, and he died in September. It is 
true, moreover, that, although a partisan of peace, he did not look upon a war 
with Napoleon as he had looked upon a war with the French Revolution. It 
was no longer the liberty of France that was in question, but the independence 
of Europe. P. R. 


During the month of January, 1806, the debates in the 
English Parliament had been very warm. The Opposition, 
led by Mr. Fox, asked the Government for explanations as 
to the carrying out of the late war ; it asserted that the Em- 
peror of Austria had not been faithfully assisted, and that he 
had been left to the mercy of the conqueror. The Ministers 
then laid on the table the text of the conditions of the treaty 
between the various Powers at the beginning of the cam- 
paign. This treaty proved that subsidies had been granted 
to the coalition which had undertaken to drive the Emperor 
from Hanover, Germany, and Italy, to replace the King of 
Sardinia on the throne of Piedmont, and to secure the inde- 
pendence of Holland and Sweden. The rapid victories of 
our troops had upset these plans. The Emperor of Austria 
was blamed for having begun the campaign too precipitately, 
without waiting for the arrival of the Russians ; and the 
King of Prussia, whose neutrality had been the principal 
cause of the failure of the coalition, was especially blamed. 
The Czar's anger was roused, and he might have been tempt- 
ed to punish this fatal inaction, had not the lovely and fasci- 
nating Queen of Prussia interceded between the two sov- 
ereigns. A rumor then arose in Europe that her beauty had 
disarmed the Emperor of Russia, and that to it he had sacri- 
ficed his just displeasure. Napoleon, who had subdued the 
King of Prussia by the fear of his arms, thought it well to 
reward him for his neutrality by handing over Hanover to 
him until the very uncertain epoch of general peace. On 
his side, the King ceded Anspach to Bavaria, and abandoned 
in favor of France his claims to the duchies of Berg and of 
Cleves, which were bestowed shortly afterward on Prince 
Joachim, otherwise Murat. 

The report laid before the English Parliament on the 
treaty of which I speak was published in our newspapers, and 
accompanied, as may be imagined, by remarks hostile to the con- 
tinental Powers. The weakness of those kings who place them- 
selves at the mercy of the shopkeepers of Europe was deplored. 


" If England," so ran the comment, " should succeed in 
forming a fourth coalition, Austria, who lost Belgium by the 
first, Italy and the left bank of the Ehine by the second, 
Tyrol, Swabia, and the Venetian States by the third, would 
by the fourth lose her own crown. 

" The influence of the French Empire on the Continent 
will secure the well-being of Europe, for with it will have 
begun the age of civilization, of science, of light, and of law. 
The Emperor of Kussia has imprudently embarked, like a 
young man, in a dangerous policy. As to Austria, we must 
forget her faults, since she has suffered for them. However, 
it is right to say that if the treaty now made public in Eng- 
land had been known, perhaps Austria might not have ob- 
tained the terms which have been granted to her ; and we 
may remark, in passing, that Count de Stadion, who con- 
cluded this treaty of subsidies, is still at the head of affairs 
under the Emperor Francis." 

These remarks, which were the expression of an ill-con- 
cealed irritation, began -to cause some little uneasiness in the 
early part of February, and to make attentive observers fear 
that peace would not be of long duration. 

No treaty had been concluded with the Czar. Under 
pretext that he had only acted as auxiliary to the Austrians, 
he refused to be included in the negotiations ; and I have 
heard it said that the Emperor, impressed by this conduct, 
looked upon him, from that time forth, as the veritable an- 
tagonist who would dispute with him the empire of the 
world. He always endeavored to depreciate him as much as 

There is an order * in Kussia which can only be worn by 
a general whose services have on some great occasion been 
useful to the empire. When Alexander returned to his cap- 
ital, the knights of this order came to offer him the decora- 
tion. The Emperor declined it, replying that he had not 
held the chief command during the campaign, and therefore 

* The order of St. George. 


had not merited the honor, as he had only imitated the in- 
trepidity of his brave soldiers to the best of his ability. 

While our journals praised his modesty, they added: 
" The Czar deserved this decoration if, in order to wear it, 
it is sufficient to be in command without being victorious. 
It is well known that it was not the Emperor Francis who 
decided on joining battle at Austerlitz, still less did he direct 
operations. Certainly, by accepting the decoration, Alexan- 
der would have taken on himself the oversights of his gen- 
erals ; but that would have been better than to attribute the 
defeat of the Russians to a small number of Austrians, who 
fought with courage. They did all that could have been 
expected of them by their allies." 

It was on the 2d of February that this article appeared in 
our public "prints ; on the preceding day they had published 
the proclamation to the Army of Italy, which announced the 
invasion of the kingdom of Naples. Joseph Bonaparte, sec- 
onded by Marshal Massena, was very shortly to occupy the 
capital; Prince Eugene was taking possession of Venice. 
Thus the whole of Italy was becoming dependent on the 
French Empire. On another side, northern Germany was 
subject to us, the kings whom we had set up bound them- 
selves to our interests, and we were shortly to witness an- 
other marriage, which would be likely to further the projects 
in which the Emperor was secretly indulging. 

On the occasion of his journey from Munich, he had made 
a few hours' stay at Augsburg. While there, the former 
Elector of Treves, uncle to the King of Saxony, had present- 
to him the young Hereditary Prince of Baden, who, con- 
fused and almost trembling in the presence of Napoleon, 
had humbly implored the honor of alliance with him by a 
marriage with some member of his family. The Emperor 
accepted this respectful request, and promised to bear it in 
mind on his return to his own states.* 

* This young Prince had formerly been betrothed to Princess Augusta of 
Bavaria, recently married to the Viceroy of Italy. P. B. 


Finally, he had just dispatched his brother Louis on an 
expedition to Holland, in order to establish some acquain- 
tanceship between the Prince and a country which was soon 
to receive the Imperial command to erect a throne for Louis 
on the wreck of the republic. 

Such was the political situation of the Emperor. Such a 
position would surely have satisfied any views less ambitious 
than his own, nor can it be denied that he had made full 
use of the eighteenth month of his reign, now just expired. 

In France, party spirit seemed absolutely to have died 
out. All bent under the yoke ; no class could be indifferent 
to so much glory ; and the Emperor endeavored to increase 
the prestige which surrounded him still further by numerous 
public works, simultaneously undertaken. As soon as it be- 
came possible for him to divert his attention for a moment 
from foreign affairs, he devoted it to the improvement of the 
finances of the country, which had suffered during his ab- 
sence. M. Barbe-Marbois, Minister of the Treasury,* hav- 
ing incurred his displeasure, was replaced by M. Mollien, 
who was a skillful financier. The Emperor was ably sec- 
onded by his Minister of Finance, Gaudin, whose perfect 
integrity and sound knowledge sustained credit and im- 
proved the system of taxation. Indirect taxes were ven- 
tured on to a greater extent than before; luxury, which 
would render these taxes more productive, was encouraged ; 
and the heavy contributions which the Emperor had every- 
where levied upon his conquered enemies afforded him the 
means, without burdening his people, of keeping up the 
strength of his army, and undertaking all the improvements 
which were begun throughout France, as if by magic, at his 

Eoads over Mont Cenis and the Simplon were actively 
pushed on ; bridges were built, roadways repaired ; a town 
was founded in Yendee ; canals were dug at Ourcq and at 

* M. de Marbois, who was very unjustly accused of misconduct in some 
money transaction, was exiled on the return of Bonaparte from this campaign. 


Saint Quentin ; telegraphs (i. e., signals) were established to 
accelerate correspondence ; Saint Denis was about to be re- 
paired ; the Yendome column and the triumphal arch at the 
Carrousel were commenced. A plan for embanking the 
Seine with new quays, and for embellishing the whole neigh- 
borhood lying between the Tuileries and the Boulevards, was 
adopted, and the work of demolition had already made some 
progress. The Hue de Rivoli was planned, the colon- 
nade of the Louvre nearly completed; Lemot, the sculp- 
tor, was intrusted with the decoration of the pediment. "We 
could observe the gradual rise of the Pont des Arts, and the 
commencement of the bridge near the Jardin des Plantes, 
which was to bear the name of Austerlitz. The conserva- 
tories in these gardens had been enriched with spoils from 
those of Schonbrunn ; scientific men were encouraged in the 
pursuit of fresh discoveries ; painters received orders for 
pictures to commemorate our victories; the Academy of 
Music was encouraged ; the first musical artists in Italy came 
to France to direct our vocal music ; literary men received 
pensions, and large grants were made to actors; military 
schools were founded at Fontainebleau and at Saint Cyr; 
and the Emperor himself inspected the public schools of 
Paris. Finally, in order that the industry of the nation 
might be encouraged in every branch at once, he conceived 
the idea of an exhibition, to be held in the spring, and in 
commemoration of the campaign, in which every product of 
industry, of whatever kind, should be represented.* 

M. de Champagny, the Minister of the Interior, wrote a 
circular letter to all the prefects, directing them to inform 
the departments over which they presided that, on the 1st of 
May, there would be exhibited on the Place des Invalides, 
under tents erected for the occasion, everything deserving of 
notice in articles of use and of luxury. Trade was in this 
manner awakened from the torpor in which it had been 

*An exhibition of industrial products had already taken place in 1802; 
this, therefore, was the second, not the first exhibition of the kind. P. B. 


plunged by the war. The Emperor ordered the splendor 
and the cost of his Court to be increased. He gave his ap- 
proval to the growing elegance of the women's dress, to the 
sumptuous decoration of his own palaces, and to that of the 
houses of his sisters and his great nobles. The French na- 
tion, which is naturally prone to vanity and extravagance, 
gave itself up to the comforts and luxuries of life ; and as 
for us, whose fortunes were but annuities depending not only 
on the life but on the caprice of our master, with an utter 
disregard of prudence, influenced by the example of others 
and by the fear of displeasing him, we were ruled by the 
will of Bonaparte alone in the use to which we put the 
greater or less sums he distributed to us, and which he gave 
with the intention of subduing rather than of enriching us. 

I say we, and yet at this time neither M. de Remusat nor 
I had any share in his gifts. The cross of Saint Hubert had 
been given to my husband as a recompense for his recent 
journey, but he never stood in the full light of Imperial 
favor. As for myself, I led an unobtrusive life in the midst 
of the Court, whose numbers were greatly augmented. To 
speak frankly, although I had taken pleasure in the promi- 
nence assigned to me by my masters when I first entered 
their service, the little experience I had acquired warned me 
not to endeavor to regain any position of importance, now 
that the interior of the palace was no longer the same. I 
shall devote the following chapter to the details of Court 
life, as it was now regulated, but I will return for the present 
to my narrative of events.* 

Immediately on the Emperor's return to his capital, he 
was congratulated by the respective bodies of the State. 

During his stay at Munich he had witnessed a German 
ceremonial, in which the King and Queen of Bavaria, having 
taken their places on the throne, received all the persons be- 

* Our newspapers gave us the proclamation of Francis on his return to 
Vienna ; it was fatherly and touching, contrasting with those dictated by our 
own sovereign. 


longing to their Court, who passed before them in succession, 
each making a low salutation. He desired to establish a simi- 
lar custom in France, and we received orders to prepare for 
this new " etiquette." 

The fact is that, at that time, everything had to be con- 
structed afresh. Revolutionary liberty had suppressed all 
the rules of politeness. People no longer knew how to 
salute each other when they met, and all we court ladies 
suddenly discovered that the art of making a courtesy had 
been omitted in our education. Despreaux, who had been 
dancing-master to the last Queen, was thereupon summoned 
to give us lessons. He taught us how to walk and how to 
bow ; and thus a little boundary-line, trifling enough in itself, 
but which acquired some importance from its motive, was 
drawn between the ladies of the Imperial Court and those 
belonging to other circles. We took with us into society 
ceremonious manners, which distinguished us everywhere; 
for a spirit of opposition caused those women who kept aloof 
from the new Court to retain the free and rather abrupt 
manners which the absence of the habits of society had given 
them. In France, opinions make themselves felt everywhere ; 
they now showed themselves in the different way in which 
a lady-in-waiting and a lady from the Faubourg Saint Germain 
would enter a drawing-room. But, putting motives aside, it 
must be owned that the advantage was ours. This was evi- 
dent after the return of the King : those ladies who had a 
real right to be about him, either from the habit of freedom 
of manner which they had acquired, or from the relief they 
affected to feel at finding themselves on what great people 
call their own ground, introduced at the Tuileries a bold 
manner and loud tones of voice, which contrasted sharply 
with the quiet and graceful behavior that Bonaparte's punc- 
tilious etiquette had made habitual to us. 

On an appointed day, therefore, the Emperor placed 
himself on his throne, having the Empress on his left, the 
Princesses and the Lady of Honor seated on court tabourets, 


and the grand officers standing on either side. The ladies- 
in-waiting, the wives of the marshals, of the great officials, 
and of the ministers, all in full court dress, then came in 
slow procession to the foot of the throne, where they courte- 
sied in silence. They were followed by the gentlemen. 

The ceremony was very long. At first the Emperor was 
delighted. He took pleasure in etiquette, especially when 
invented by himself; but he ended by being mortally wea- 
ried. Toward the end, every one was hurried past ; there 
was some difficulty in inducing him to remain on the throne 
until the close, and he was almost angry with us for our 
share in a ceremonial which he himself had imposed on us, 
in the exercise of his own will. 

A few nights afterward he went to the Opera, and was 
received with applause by an immense crowd. A piece by 
Esmenard, author of the " Poeme de la Navigation," was 

The scenery at the Opera represented the Pont JSTeuf. 
Persons of all nationalities were rejoicing together, and sing- 
ing verses in honor of the conqueror. The pit joined in the 
choruses ; branches of laurel were distributed throughout the 
house, and waved aloft with cries of " Yive PEmpereur ! " 
He was touched, as well he might be. It was, perhaps, the 
very last time that public enthusiasm for him was spontaneous. 

Shortly afterward the Emperor received a similar ovation 
at the Comedie Francaise, but an unforeseen circumstance 
threw a slight shadow over the evening. Talma was acting 
the part of Abner in the tragedy of " Athalie." During the 
performance Bonaparte received a messenger bringing the 
news of the entry of the French troops into Naples. He 
immediately dispatched an aide-de-camp to Talma, with 
orders to interrupt the play, and to announce the news from 
the foot-lights. Talma obeyed, and read the bulletin aloud. 
The audience applauded, but I remember thinking that the 
applause was not so spontaneous as that we had heard at the 


On the following day our newspapers announced the fall 
of her whom they designated as the modern Athalie ; * and 
the vanquished Queen was grossly insulted, with total disre- 
gard of the social propriety that generally enforces respect 
toward misfortune. 

It was remarked shortly afterward that, on the opening 
of the Legislative Assemblies, M. de Fontanes displayed 
great tact, when he praised Bonaparte, in avoiding any in- 
sult to the fallen sovereigns whom he had dethroned. He 
dwelt chiefly, in his eulogium, on the moderation which had 
promoted peace, and on the restoration of the tombs in St. 
Denis. M. de Fontanes's speeches during this reign are, on 
the whole, distinguished by propriety and good taste. 

After having thus shown himself to the public and ex- 
hausted every form of adulation, the Emperor resumed his 
life of hard work at the Tuileries, and we our life of eti- 
quette, which was regulated with extreme precision. He 
began from this period to surround himself with so much 
ceremonial that none of us thenceforth could be said to have 
any familiarity with him. In proportion as the Court be- 
came more numerous, it assumed a greater appearance of 
monotony, each one doing his own task by clockwork ; but 
no one thought of emancipating himself from the one groove 
of thought belonging to a narrow circle of small duties. A 
daily growing despotism, the fear we all felt of it a fear 
which consisted simply in our dread of receiving a rebuke 
for the smallest fault and the silence we observed on every 
subject, placed the various inhabitants of the Tuileries on 
the same level. It was useless to have either opinions or 
talents, for there was never any possibility of experiencing a 
feeling of any kind, nor of exchanging an idea. 

The Emperor, feeling secure of France, gave himself up 

to his grand projects, and kept his eyes fixed on Europe. 

His policy was no longer directed to securing his power over 

the opinions of his fellow citizens. In like manner, he dis- 

* The Queen of Naples. 


darned the little successes of private life, which we have 
seen him at an earlier period anxious to obtain ; and I may 
say that he looked upon his Court with the indifference 
which a complete conquest inspires, when compared with 
one as yet unattained. He was always anxious to impose a 
yoke on every one, and to succeed in this he neglected no 
means to his end ; but, from the moment he perceived his 
power to be established, he took no pains to make himself 

The dependence and constraint in which he held the 
Court had at least this one advantage : anything resembling 
intrigue was almost unknown. As each individual was firm- 
ly convinced that everything depended on the sole will of 
the master, no one attempted to follow a different path from 
that traced out by him ; and in our dealings with each other 
there was a feeling of security. 

His wife was almost in the same position of dependence 
as others. In proportion as Bonaparte's affairs increased in 
magnitude, she became a stranger to them. European poli- 
tics, the destiny of the world, mattered little to her ; her 
thoughts did not reach to heights which could have no influ- 
ence on her own fate. At this period she was tranquil as to 
her own lot, and happy in that of her son ; and she lived a 
life of peaceful indifference, behaving to all with equal gra- 
ciousness, showing little or no special favor to any one, but a 
general good will. She neither sought for amusement nor 
feared ennui she was always gentle and serene, and, in fact, 
was indifferent to nearly all things. Her love for her hus- 
band had greatly declined, and she no longer suffered from 
the jealousy which had in former years so much disturbed 
her. Every day she judged him with greater clearness, and, 
being convinced that her greatest source of influence over 
him consisted in the sense of restfulness imparted to him by 
the evenness of her temper, she took great pains to avoid 
disturbing him. I have said long ago that such a man as he 
had neither time nor inclination for much display of affec- 


tion, and the Empress at this period forgave him all the 
fancies which sometimes take the place of love in a man's 
life; nay, more, she became his confidante in these little 

On his return from Austerlitz, he again met Mme. de 

X , but seemed to take no notice of her. The Empress 

treated her precisely as she treated others. It has been said 
that Bonaparte occasionally returned to his former fancy for 
this lady ; but, if so, it was so temporarily that the Court 
barely perceived the fact, and, as it gave rise to no new inci- 
dent, it awakened no interest. The Emperor, who was con- 
vinced that the influence of women had harmed the kings of 
France, was irrevocably resolved that they should never be 
more than an ornament to his Court, and he kept his resolu- 
tion. He had persuaded himself, I know not how, that in 
France women are cleverer than men, or at any rate he often 
said so, and that the education they receive develops a certain 
kind of ability, against which one must be on one's guard. 
He felt, therefore, a slight fear of them, and kept them at a 
distance on this account. He exhibited a dislike of certain 
women's temper which amounted to weakness. 

He banished Mme. de Stael, of whom he was genuinely 
afraid, and shortly afterward Mme. de Balbi, who had ven- 
tured on some jesting remarks concerning himself. She had 
indiscreetly made these observations in the hearing of 'a 
person whom I will not name, and who repeated all he had 
heard. This individual was a gentleman and a Chamberlain. 
I mention the fact in order to prove that the Emperor found 
persons in every class who were willing to serve him in his 
own way. 

"We began to perceive, during the winter of this year, how 
unhappy Mme. Louis was in her home life. Her husband's 
tyranny was exercised in every particular; his character, 
quite as despotic as his brother's, made itself felt throughout 
his household. Until now his wife had courageously hidden 
the excess to which he carried his tyranny ; but a circum- 


stance occurred which obliged her to confide some of her 
troubles to her mother. 

The health of Louis Bonaparte was very bad. Since his 
return from Egypt he had suffered from frequent attacks 
of a malady which had so weakened his legs and his hands 
that he walked with difficulty, and was stiff in every joint. 
Every remedy known to medicine was tried in vain. Cor- 
visart, who was medical attendant to the whole family, ad- 
vised him to try, as a last resource, a disgusting remedy. 
He imagined that a violent eruption on the skin would per- 
haps draw out the poison which had defied other treatment. 
It was therefore decided that on the state bed of Louis, un- 
der its embroidered canopy, should be spread the hospital 
sheets of some patient suffering from the itch ; and his Im- 
perial Highness placed himself between them, and even put 
on the sick man's night-shirt. Louis, who wished to hide 
this experiment from everybody, insisted that nothing should 
be changed in the habits of his wife. They usually slept in 
the same room, though not in the same bed ; he had always 
obliged her to pass the night near him on a small bed placed 
under the same canopy. He imperatively commanded that 
she should continue to occupy this bed, adding, in a spirit of 
strange jealousy, that no husband should ever omit to take 
precautions against the natural inconstancy of women. Mme. 
Louis, notwithstanding her disgust, submitted in silence to 
this gross abuse of conjugal authority. 

Meanwhile, Corvisart, who was in attendance on her, and 
who remarked a change in her appearance, questioned her 
respecting the details of her life, and obtained from her an 
admission of her husband's strange fancy. He thought it 
his duty to inform the Empress, and did not conceal from 
her that, in his opinion, the atmosphere of Louis's bedroom 
was very unwholesome for his wife. 

Mme. Bonaparte warned her daughter, who replied that 
she had thought as much ; but, nevertheless, she earnestly 
entreated her mother not to interfere between her husband 


and herself. Then, no longer able to restrain herself, she 
entered into particulars which showed how grinding was the 
tyranny from which she suffered, and how admirable the si- 
lence she had hitherto kept. Mine. Bonaparte appealed to 
the Emperor, who was attached to his stepdaughter, and he 
expressed his displeasure to his brother. Louis coldly re- 
plied that, if his private affairs were interfered with, he 
should leave France ; and the Emperor, who could not toler- 
ate any open scandal in the family, and who was perhaps, 
like the others, daunted by Louis's strange and obstinate 
temper, advised Mme. Louis to have patience. Happily for 
her, her husband soon gave up the disgusting remedy in 
question, but he owed her a deep grudge for not having kept 
his secret. 

Had her daughter been happy, there was nothing at this 
time to disturb the tranquillity of the Empress. The Bona- 
parte family, full of their own affairs, no longer interfered 
with her ; Joseph was absent and about to ascend the throne 
of Naples ; Lucien was exiled for ever from France ; the 
youthful Jerome was cruising along our coasts ; Mme. Bac- 
ciochi was reigning at Piombino ; and the Princess Borghese, 
alternating between physic and dissipation, meddled with 
nobody. Mme. Murat only might have caused annoyance to 
her sister-in-law, but she was engaged in promoting her hus- 
band's interests, to which the Empress made no opposition ; 
for she would have rejoiced greatly at Murat's obtaining a 
principality which would have removed him from Paris. 

Mme. Murat used her utmost efforts, and was even im- 
portunate with the Emperor, in order to attain her ends. 
She connived at his gallantries, lent him her house on occa- 
sions when it was convenient to him to use it, and tried to 
divert him by fetes, and to please him by a display of luxury 
according to his taste. She interested herself in every detail 
of the etiquette that he wished to introduce, and assumed 
airs of dignity, somewhat stilted perhaps, which induced him 
to declare that -his sister was in every respect fitted to be a 

MME. MURAT. 355 

queen. She neglected no means of success, paid attention 
to Maret, who had gradually gained the sort of influence 
that is acquired by assiduity, and flattered Fouche into a 
zealous attachment to her interests. The understanding be- 
tween Mme. Murat and these two personages, who were both 
ill-disposed toward M. de Talleyrand, increased the dislike of 
the latter to Murat ; and, as at this period he was in high 
favor, he often thwarted Mme. Murat's plans. Murat used 
to say, in the southern accent he never lost, " "Would not 
Moussu de Talleyrand like me to be broken on the wheel ! " 

Murat, relying on his wife to further his interests, con- 
tented himself with giving no cause of offense to the Em- 
peror, behaved toward him with entire submission, and bore 
his alternations of temper without complaint. Brave to 
excess on the battle-field, he had not, it was said, any great 
military talent ; and when with the army he asked for no- 
thing but the post of danger. He was not wanting in quick- 
ness, his manners were obliging ; his attitudes and his dress 
were always rather theatrical, but a fine figure and noble 
appearance saved him from looking ridiculous. The Em- 
peror reposed no confidence in him, but he employed him, 
because he feared him in no wise, and because he could not 
help believing in every kind of flattery. A certain sort of 
credulity is not rarely combined in the same character with 
distrust ; and those great men who are the most suspicious 
by nature are not the least amenable to flattery. 

On his return from the campaign of Austerlitz, the Em- 
peror distributed further rewards to his generals. ' To some 
he gave considerable sums of money, to reimburse them for 
the expenses of the campaign. General Clarke was made 
Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor, in recognition of the 
manner in which he had fulfilled his duties as Governor of 
Yienna. Hitherto Clarke had been treated with some cold- 
ness ; the Emperor showed him but little confidence, and 
accused him of retaining a secret affection for the house of 
Orleans ; but he succeeded in convincing Bonaparte of his 


obsequious devotion. General Clarke, now Due de Feltre, 
has for the last three years played a somewhat conspicuous 
part, and it may be well to give some particulars of his 

His uncle, M. Shee, who was made Senator by the Em- 
peror, and who is a peer of France, was previous to the 
Revolution secretary-general to a division of light cavalry, 
of which the Duke of Orleans was colonel-general. He was 
accompanied by his nephew, Clarke, whom he had sent for 
from the country.* The young man found himself specially 
attached to the house of Orleans, and it is on this account, 
perhaps, that Bonaparte suspected him of private leanings 
toward that party. He served the Revolution with zeal, and 
was teven employed, in 1794 and 1T95, by the Committee of 
Public Safety, in the war administration. 

He accompanied Bonaparte into Italy, but haughty man- 
ners were displeasing to the commander-in-chief . Later on 
he was sent as ambassador to Tuscany, and remained there 
for a considerable time, although he frequently applied for 
his recall and for employment in France. On finally obtain- 
ing these, he applied himself to overcoming Bonaparte's pre- 
judice against him : he nattered him assiduously, solicited the 
favor of a post in his personal service, displayed the abso- 
lute submission demanded by such a master, and was eventu- 

* It is clear that the author was induced to give this finished sketch of Gen- 
eral Clarke, Due de Feltre, on account of the prominent part taken by him in 
the early days of the Restoration, and the effect produced by his death in 1818, 
at the very time that these Memoirs were being written. General Clarke was 
born at Landrecies in 1763. He was Minister of War in 1807 and in 1814. 
He was a peer of France, was created a Marshal in 1817, and was an active in- 
strument in the reaction of 1815. In 1818 he was an object of passionate 
regret to the Right, who enthusiastically upheld him in opposition to his suc- 
cessor, Marshal Gouvion Saint-Cyr. A few years previously, when Minister to 
the Emperor, he had attracted notice by an eagerness to please his master which 
made him unpopular, and placed him in the public estimation on a level with 
M. Maret. Nevertheless he had the reputation of an honest and guileless man, 
and, notwithstanding the zeal with which he served under both regimes, his pri- 
vate character stands high. P. R. 


ally made Councilor of State and private secretary. He 
was very hard-working and punctual, and never wanted rec- 
reation. He was narrow-minded and unimaginative, but 
clear-headed. He accompanied the Emperor in the first 
Yienna campaign, showed capacity as Governor of the city, 
and received a first reward on his return. We shall hear of 
him later on as Minister of War, and in every capacity as a 
man of second-rate ability. His integrity has always been 
freely acknowledged ; he amassed no fortune except that 
which resulted from the savings of his various salaries. 
Like M. Maret, he carried the language of flattery to its ex- 
treme limits. 

His first marriage was unhappy, and he obtained a divorce. 
He had one daughter, a gentle and agreeable girl, whom 
he gave in marriage while he was in office to the Yicomte 
Emery de Montesquiou-Fezensac,* whose military advance- 
ment, thanks to his father-in-law, was very rapid.f This 
young man is at the present time aide-major-general in the 
Eoyal Guards., The Due de Feltre's second wife was an 
excellent but insignificant woman. By her he had several 

Meanwhile, M. de Talleyrand's friendliness toward M. de 
Kemusat brought me into a closer acquaintance with him. 
He did not as yet visit at my house, but I frequently met 
him, and wherever this occurred he took more notice of me 
than formerly. He seldom missed an opportunity of prais- 
ing my husband, and thus he gratified the feelings dearest to 

* Nephew to the Abbe* de Montesquieu. 

f M. de Fezensac, afterward Due de Fezensac, was made in 1813, while quite 
a young man, general of brigade, but he had been twelve or thirteen years in 
the service. He had served a long time as a private. He died on November 
18, 186Y. We all were acquainted with him during the late years of his life. 
He was a sincere man, mild and conscientious, and gifted with a wonderful 
memory. He wrote a volume of interesting Memoirs, describing with truth and 
piquancy certain sides of life in the Imperial armies. He was related on the 
side of his mother, Mile, de la Live, to M. Mole, who appointed him ambassador 
to Spain in 1837. P. R. 


my heart ; and, if I must speak the whole truth, he gratified 
my vanity also by seeking me out on all occasions. He won 
me over to him by degrees, and my former prejudice against 
him vanished. Yet he would sometimes alarm me by cer- 
tain expressions for which I was unprepared. One day I was 
speaking to him of the recent conquest of Naples, and ven- 
tured to let him perceive that I disapproved of our policy of 
universal dethronement. He replied in the cold and delib- 
erate tone that he knows so well how to assume when he 
means to permit no reply, " Madame, we shall not desist until 
there shall no longer be a Bourbon on a European throne." 
These words gave me pain. I thought little, I must admit, 
about our royal family ; but still, at the sound of the name 
of Bourbon, certain recollections of my early days awakened 
former feelings that had faded rather than disappeared. 

I could not, at the present time, attempt to explain this 
feeling without running the risk of being accused of insin- 
cerity, which is absolutely foreign to my character. It may 
be thought that, remembering the period at which I write, I 
want gradually to prepare the way for my own return to 
those opinions which everybody now hastens to parade. But 
this is not the case. In those days I admired the Emperor ; 
I was still attached to him, although less fascinated by him ; 
I believed him to be necessary to France ; he appeared to 
me to have become her legitimate sovereign. But all these 
feelings were combined with a tender reverence for the heirs 
and all the kin of Louis XIV. ; it pained me deeply when 
fresh misfortunes were prepared for them and I heard them 
evil spoken of. Bonaparte had often inflicted suffering of 
this kind on me. To a man who only appreciated success, 
Louis XYI. must have seemed deserving of little respect % 
He was entirely unjust toward him, and believed in all the 
popular stories against him, which were the offspring of the 
Revolution. When the conversation turned on that illus- 
trious and unfortunate King, I endeavored as soon as pos- 
sible to change the subject. 


But to return. Such was M. de Talleyrand's opinion at 
that time ; I will show by degrees, and when the time comes, 
how events subsequently modified it. 

During this winter the heir of the King of Bavaria came 
on a visit to our Court. He was young, deaf, not very ami- 
able ; but he had very polished manners, and he showed great 
deference toward the Emperor. He had apartments at the 
Tuileries, two chamberlains and an equerry were placed at 
his service, and every attention was paid to him. 

On the 10th of February the list of ladies-in-waiting was 
increased by the names of Mme. Maret, on the request of 
Mme. Murat, and of Mmes. de Chevreuse, de Montmorency- 
Matignon, and de Mortemart. 

M. de Talleyrand was an intimate friend of the Duchesse 
de Luynes, and he induced her to make her daughter-in-law 
accept a place at Court. The Duchess was greatly attached 
to Mme. de Chevreuse.* The latter had very pronounced 
opinions of her own, and every one of them distinctly op- 
posed to what was expected of her. Bonaparte threatened ; 
M. de Talleyrand negotiated, and, according to custom, ob- 
tained his way. Madame de Chevreuse was pretty, although 
red-haired,f and very witty, but excessively spoiled by her 
family, willful and fantastic. Her health even then was 
very delicate. The Emperor tried by coaxing to console 
her for having forced her into the Court. At times he 
would appear to have succeeded, and then at others she 
would take no pains to conceal her dislike to her position. 
Her natural disposition gave her an attraction for the Em- 
peror, which others would have vainly endeavored to exert, 
the charm of combat and of victory. For she would some- 
times seem to be amused with the fetes and the splendor of 
the Court ; and when she appeared there in full dress and 

* Mile, de Narbonne-Fritzlar. Her brother was a chamberlain. 

f Madame de Chevreuse was one day rudely taunted by Bonaparte with hav- 
ing red hair. " Very likely," she answered, " but no man ever complained of it 
before." P. R. 


apparently in good spirits, then the Emperor, who enjoyed 
even the smallest success, would laugh and say, " I have 
overcome the aversion of Mme. de Chevreuse." But, in 
reality, I do not think he ever did. 

'The Baronne de Montmorency (now Duchesse de Mont- 
morency), who was extremely intimate with M. de Talley- 
rand, had been induced to join the Court, partly by his per- 
suasions, and partly by her wish to regain some extensive 
forest-lands which were seized by Government during her 
emigration, but had not yet been sold. Mme. de Montmo- 
rency was extremely pleasant at Court ; she demeaned her- 
self without either pride or subservience, appeared to enjoy 
herself, and made no pretense of being there against her 
will.* I think she found court life very agreeable, and that 
possibly she may have regretted it. Her name gave her an 
advantage, as it does in every place. The Emperor often 
said that he cared only for the nobility of history, and he 
certainly paid it great honor. 

This reminds me of an anecdote concerning Bonaparte. 
When he resolved on reconstituting titles, he decided by a 
stroke of his pen that all the ladies-in-waiting should be 
countesses. Mme. de Montmorency, who stood in no need 
of a title, but found herself obliged to take one, asked for 
the title of baroness, which, she said laughingly, suited her 
name so well. " That can not be," replied Bonaparte, laugh- 
ing too ; " you, inadame, are not a sufficiently good Chris- 

Some years later the Emperor restored to MM. de Mont- 
morency and de Mortemart a large portion of the fortune 
they had lost. M. de Mortemart, declining to become an 
equerry on account of the too great fatigue of the post, was 
made Governor of Rambouillet. We have all known the 
Yicomte de Laval-Montmorency, father of the Yicomte Ma- 

* Mme. de Matignon, the mother of the Duchesse de Montmorency, was the 
daughter of the Baron de Breteuil, who, after his return from emigration, al- 
ways resided in Paris. 

M. MOLti. 361 

thieu de Montmorency, a Gentleman of Honor to Madame, 
Governor of Compiegne, and one of the most ardent admir- 
ers of Bonaparte. 

From this time forward there was increasing eagerness to 
belong to the Emperor's Court, and especially to be presented 
to him. His receptions became very brilliant. Ambition, 
fear, vanity, love of amusement and novelty, and the desire 
of advancement, caused a crowd of people to push themselves 
forward, and the mixture of names and ranks became greater 
than ever. 

M. Mole joined the Government in the month of March 
of this year. He was the heir and last descendant of Ma- 
thieu Mole, and was then twenty-six years of age. He was 
born during the Kevolution, and had suffered from the mis- 
fortunes it caused. His father perished under the tyranni- 
cal rule of Kobespierre, and he became his own master at an 
early age. He made use of his freedom to devote himself 
to serious and varied study. His family and friends married 
him, at the age of nineteen, to Mile, de la Briche, heiress to 
a considerable fortune, and niece to Mme. d'Houdetot, of 
whom I have already spoken. M. Mole, who was naturally 
of a grave disposition, soon became weary of a merely world- 
ly life, and, having no profession, he sought to fill up his 
time by literary compositions, which he showed to his friends. 
Toward the end of 1805 he wrote a short treatise, extremely 
metaphysical and not very clear, on a theory of authority 
and the will of man. His friends, who were surprised at the 
research indicated by such a work, advised him to print the 
treatise. His youthful vanity readily consented to this. The 
public looked indulgently on the work on account of his 
youth ; both depth and talent were recognized in it, but, at 
the same time, a tendency to praise despotic government, 
which gave rise to an impression that the author aimed at 
attracting the attention of him who at that time held the 
destinies of all in his hand. Whether this was really in the 
mind of the writer, or whether he was horrified at the abuse 


of liberty, and for the first time in his life believed his coun- 
try to be at rest and in security under the guidance of a 
strong will, I do not know. At any rate, M. Mole gave his 
work to the public, and it made some sensation. 

After the return from Yienna, M. de Fontanes, who had 
a great regard for M. Mole, read the book to Bonaparte, who 
was greatly struck by it. The opinions it advanced, the su- 
perior mind it attested, and the distinguished name of Mole 
attracted his attention. He sent for the author, and praised 
him as he well knew how ; for he had great skill in the use 
of words seductive to the young. He succeeded in persuad- 
ing him to enter into public life, promising him that his 
career should be rapid and brilliant ; and, a few days after 
this interview, M. Mole was appointed one of the auditors 
attached to the Interior Section. He was a familiar friend 
of M. d'Houdetot, his cousin, a grandson of her whom the 
" Confessions " of J. J. Rousseau have made famous, and M. 
Mole persuaded "him to enter together with himself on the 
same career. M. d'Houdetot was made auditor to the Naval 
Section. His father held a command in the colonies, and 
was taken prisoner by the English on the capture of Marti- 
nique. He had passed a part of his life in the Isle de France, 
and returned, bringing with him a beautiful wife and nine 
children, five of them girls. His daughters were all hand- 
some ; they are now living in Paris. Some of them are mar- 
ried ; one of them is Mme. de Barante,* the most beautiful 
woman in Paris at the present time.f 

* M. de Barante was at the head of the Indirect Taxation, and was prefect 
under Bonaparte. He was a great friend of Mme. de Stae'Ps, very liberal in his 
opinions, and a clever man. 

f My father, who, from his youth upward, was on intimate terms with M. 
Mole until the death of the latter, has written a good deal about him, both in 
articles for publication and in manuscript notes. The following are his reflec- 
tions on the earlier part of his career : " M. Mole", who was born in 1*780, received 
little education. When scarcely nineteen he married Caroline de la Briche. He 
had been able, by following public classes and by superficial study of various 
branches, to supply the deficiencies of his education, which, however, he never 


The fusion that was spreading with so much rapidity 
brought about social concord, by mingling the interests of 
all. M. Mole, for instance, belonging on his own side to a 
very distinguished family, and on his wife's to people of 
rank for Mme. Mole's cousins were Mmes. de Yintimille 
and de Fezensac became a link between the Emperor and 
a large circle of society. My intimacy with members of his 
family was of old date, and I was glad to see them taking 
their share of the new places which were within the reach 
of those who chose to take them. Opinions abated in the 
face of self-interest ; party spirit began to die out ; ambition, 
pleasure, and luxury drew people together ; and every day 
discontent was lessened. 

If Bonaparte, who was so successful in conciliating indi- 
viduals, had but gone a step further, and, instead of govern- 
ing by force alone, had yielded to the reaction which longed 
for repose ; if, now that he had conquered the present mo- 
ment, he had made himself master of the future, by creating 
durable institutions independent of his own caprice there 
is little doubt but that his victory over our recollections, our 
prejudices, and our regrets would have been as lasting as it 
was remarkable. But it must be confessed that liberty, true 

completely overcame. He had a gifted mind, upright, receptive, and elegant, 
and he possessed to the highest degree the power of complete sympathy in con- 
versation. In youth he had a tendency to severity, to philosophy even ; but this 
diminished as he grew older. His 'Essai de Morale et de Politique,' founded on 
the writings of Bonald, both as regards style and matter, is a poor book ; yet it 
is so superior in thought and in expression to anything he was able to do at the 
age of forty, that even now I can scarcely understand how he wrote it Expe- 
rience, ambition, and contact with the world considerably modified his character. 
This was a loss to him, but at the same time a greater gain. He took the fancy 
of the Emperor. From the beginning Mole took a lofty view of his own position. 
He retained a serious manner, which became stiff and haughty, except toward 
people whom he wished to please, in which case he could do so to perfection. 
He was admitted to exceptionally frequent converse with the Emperor. It was 
thus that he rose ; and, in fact, during his Ministry, he did little more than talk 
to Napoleon. M. Frederic d'Houdetot, a first cousin of Mme. Mold's, was pre- 
fect, and subsequently deputy, under the various successive regimes, until his 
death, which took place under the second Empire. P. R. 


liberty, was wanting everywhere ; and the fault of the nation 
consisted in not perceiving this in time. As I have said be- 
fore, the Emperor improved the finances, -and encouraged 
trade, science, and art ; merit was rewarded in every class ; 
but all this was spoiled by the stamp of slavery. Being re- 
solved on ruling everything himself, and for his own advan- 
tage, he always put himself forward as the ultimate aim. It 
is said that on starting for the first campaign in Italy, he told 
a friend who was editor of a newspaper : " Recollect in your 
accounts of our victories to speak of me, always of me. Do 
you understand?" This "me" was the ceaseless cry of 
purely, egoistical ambition. " Quote me" " Sing, praise, and 
paint me" he would say to orators, to musicians, to poets, 
and to painters. " I will buy you at your own price ; but 
you must all be purchased." Thus, notwithstanding his de- 
sire to make his reign famous by gathering together every 
kind of prodigy, he neutralized his efforts and ours by deny- 
ing to talent that noble independence which alone can de- 
velop invention or genius of any kind. 



The Emperor's Civil List His Household and its Expenses Dress of the Empress 
and of Mme. Murat Louis Bonaparte Prince Borghese Fetes at Court The 
Empress's Family Marriage of Princess Stephanie Jealousy of the Empress 
Theatricals at Malmaison. 

I THINK it will not be amiss at this point to devote a few 
pages to the interior management of what was called " the 
Emperor's household." Although, at the present time, his 
own private concerns and those of his Court have even more 
completely passed away than his policy and his power, still 
there will be perhaps some interest in an account of his mi- 
nute regulation of the actions and the expenditure of each 
person belonging to the Court. He was always and in all 
things the same, and this fidelity to the system he had irrev- 
ocably adopted is one of the most singular sides of his char- 
acter. The details I am about to give relate to several periods 
of his reign ; but from the year 1806 the rules of his house- 
hold were pretty nearly invariable, and the slight modifica- 
tions which they sometimes received scarcely altered the 
general plan of their arrangement. I shall therefore sketch 
this general plan, aided by the excellent memory of M. de 
Eemusat, who during ten years was both a spectator and an 
actor in the scenes I am about to describe.* 

* The details to which this chapter is devoted will perhaps appear trivial, 
but, that we may not lose the spirit of these Memoirs, it is important to omit 
nothing from them. Such descriptions have always been admissible, and the 
most celebrated historians of the seventeenth century have painted for us the 
minutest, and I had almost said the meanest, particulars of the daily life of 


The civil list of France, under Bonaparte, amounted to a 
sum of twenty-five millions ; in addition to this, crown lands 
and forests brought in three millions, and the civil list of 
Italy eight millions, of which he granted four to Prince 
Eugene. From Piedmont, partly by the civil list and partly 
by crown property, he received three millions ; after Prince 
Borghese had been appointed Governor, only half that sum. 
Finally, four millions came from Tuscany, which were also 
afterward shared with Mme. Bacciochi, when she became 
Grand Duchess of Tuscany. The fixed revenue of the Em- 
peror amounted, therefore, to 35,500,000 francs. 

He kept at his own disposal the greater part of the sum 
allotted to the secret service of foreign affairs, and also the 
eighteen hundred thousand francs allotted to the theatres, of 
which barely twelve hundred thousand were voted by the 
yearly budget for their support. He dispensed the remain- 
der in presents to actors,* artists, men of letters, or even to 
officers of his household. 

The fund for the maintenance of the police, after sub- 
tracting the expenses of the department, was also at his dis- 
posal ; and this yielded a considerable sum every year, being 
derived from the tax on gaming-houses, which amounted to 
more than four million francs.f He could also dispose of 
the share that' the Government had reserved to itself on all 

Louis XIV., and of the principal people of his time. It should be observed 
also that Mme. de Remusat must, at the time she was writing, have been all the 
more impressed by her recollections of the splendor of the Empire, inasmuch as, 
during the earlier years of the Restoration, the poverty of France, the age, tastes, 
and habits 'of the royal family, and the apathy characteristic of the Bourbons, 
gave to the Court an air of simplicity which formed a strong contrast with Im- 
perial display. That display, however, has since then been so greatly surpassed 
that what is described here as excessive luxury may appear simplicity itself to 
our contemporaries. P. R. 

* His own liking for certain actors generally regulated these grants. He 
frequently paid Talma's debts, and made him gifts of twenty, thirty, and forty 
thousand francs at a time. 

f Fouche, while Minister, made his fortune by these taxes on gaming-tables. 
Savary drew a thousand francs a day from them. 


newspapers, which must have brought in nearly a million 
francs ; and, finally, of the sum yielded by stamps on pass- 
ports and on permits to carry arms. 

The sums levied during war were placed to the extraor- 
dinary credit, of which Bonaparte disposed as he liked. He 
frequently retained a large portion, which he made use of to 
supply the cost of the Spanish war, and for the immense 
preparations for the Russian campaign. Finally, he convert- 
ed a considerable portion into specie and diamonds ; these 
were deposited in the cellars of the Tuileries, and defrayed 
the cost of the war of 1814, when the destruction of public 
credit had paralyzed other resources. 

The utmost order prevailed in Bonaparte's household; 
liberal salaries were paid to every one, but all was so regu- 
lated that no official could use for himself the sums that 
were intrusted to him. 

His great officers received a fixed salary of forty thousand 
francs. The last two years of his reign he endowed the 
posts of great officers with a considerable income, besides the 
sums granted to the individuals who filled them. 

The posts of Grand Marshal, of Grand Chamberlain, and 
of Grand Equerry were each endowed with one hundred 
thousand francs ; those of High Almoner and Grand Yeneur 
with eighty thousand francs ; that of Grand Master of Cere- 
monies with sixty thousand. The Intendant and the Trea- 
surer each received forty thousand francs. M. Daru was the 
first Intendant; he was succeeded by M. de Champagny 
when the latter retired from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 
The First Prefect of the Palace and the Gentleman of Hon^ 
or to the Empress each received thirty thousand francs. 

M. de Nansouty, my brother-in-law, was for some time 
First Chamberlain to the Empress; but, this post having 
been abolished, he was made First Equerry to the Emperor. 
The Lady of Honor received forty thousand francs; the 
Mistress of the Robes, thirty thousand. There were eighteen 
Chamberlains. Those of oldest date received either twelve, 


six, or three thousand francs, varying according to a sum 
fixed by the Emperor every year ; the others were honorary. 
Bonaparte, moreover, regulated every salary in his household 
annually, augmenting thereby the dependence of us all by 
the uncertainty in which we were kept. 

The Equerries received twelve thousand francs ; the Pre- 
fects of the Palace, or Maitres d'H6tel, fifteen thousand, and 
the Master of Ceremonies a like sum. Each aide-de-camp re- 
ceived twenty-four thousand, as an officer of the household. 

The Grand Marshal, or Master of the Household, super- 
intended all the expenses of the table, of the domestic ser- 
vice, lighting and heating, etc. These expenses amounted 
to nearly two millions. 

Bonaparte's table was abundant and well served. The 
plate was of silver and very handsome ; on great occasions 
the dinner service was of silvjer-gilt. Mme. Murat and the 
Princess Borghese used dinner-services of silver-gilt. 

The Grand Marshal was the chief of the Prefects of the 
Palace; his uniform was amethyst-colored, embroidered in 
silver. The Prefects of the Palace wore the same colored 
uniform, less richly embroidered. 

The expenditure of the Grand Equerry (Master of the 
Horse) amounted to three or four millions. There were 
about twelve hundred horses. The carriages, which were 
more ponderous than elegant, were all painted green. The 
Empress had some equipages, among them some pretty open 
carriages, but no separate stable establishment. The Grand 
Equerry and the other Equerries wore a uniform of dark 
blue, embroidered in silver. 

The Grand Chamberlain had charge of all the attendance 
in the interior of all the palaces, of the wardrobe, the Court 
theatricals, the fetes, the chapel choir, of the Emperor's 
Chamberlains, and of those of the Empress. The expendi- 
ture on all these scarcely exceeded three millions. His uni- 
form was red, with silver embroidery.* The Grand Master 

* The embroidery was the same for all the great officers. 


of Ceremonies received little more^than three hundred thou- 
sand francs; his costume was of violet and. silver. The 
Grand Veneur, or Master of the Hunt, received seven hun- 
dred thousand francs : he wore green and silver. The ex- 
penditure on the chapel was three hundred thousand francs. 

The decoration of the apartments, as well as the care of 
the buildings, was in charge of the Intendant. The expenses 
of these would amount to five or six millions. 

It will be seen that, on an average, the expenditure of 
the Emperor's household would amount to fifteen or sixteen 
millions of francs annually. 

In later years he built extensively, and the expenditure 
was increased. 

Every year he ordered hangings and furniture for the 
various palaces from Lyons. This was with a view to en- 
coura'ging the manufactures of that city. For the same 
reason he bought handsome pieces of furniture in mahog- 
any, which were placed in storerooms, and also bronzes, 
etc. Porcelain manufacturers had orders to supply complete 
services of extreme beauty. 

On the return of the King, the palaces were all found to 
be newly furnished, and the furniture stores quite full. 

But, including all these things, the expenditure never 
exceeded twenty millions, even in the most costly years, 
such as those of the coronation and of the marriage. 

Bonaparte's expenditure on dress was put down on the 
budget at forty thousand francs. Sometimes it slightly ex- 
ceeded this sum. During campaigns it was necessary to 
send him both linen and clothes 'to several places at once. 
The slightest sense of inconvenience, or the smallest differ- 
ence of quality in the linen or cloth, would make him throw 
aside a coat or any other garment. 

He always said he wished to dress like a simple officer of 
his own Guards, and grumbled continually at what, as he 
said, " he was made to spend " ; while, from his caprice or 
awkwardness, the entire renewal of his wardrobe was con- 


stantly necessary. Among other destructive habits, he had 
that of stirring the wood-fires with his foot, thereby scorch- 
ing his shoes and boots. This generally happened when he 
was in a passion ; at such times he would violently kick the 
blazing logs in the nearest fireplace. 

M. de Remusat was for several years Keeper of the 
Wardrobe, receiving no emoluments. When M. de Turenne 
succeeded to that post, a salary of twelve thousand francs 
was awarded to him. 

Every year the Emperor himself drew up a scheme of 
household expenditure with scrupulous care and remarkable 
economy. During the last quarter of each year the head of 
each department regulated his expenses for the following 
twelvemonth. When this was accomplished, a council was 
held and everything was carefully discussed. This council 
consisted of the Grand Marshal, who presided, the great 
officers, the Intendant, and the Treasurer to the Crown. 
The expenses of the Empress's household were comprised 
in the accounts of the Grand Chamberlain, on whose budget 
they were entered. In these councils the Grand Marshal 
and the Treasurer undertook to defend the Emperor's in- 
terests. The consultation being over, the Grand Marshal 
took the accounts to the Emperor, who examined them him- 
self, and returned them with marginal notes. After a short 
interval, the council met again, under the presidency of the 
Emperor himself, who went over each item of expenditure 
anew. These consultations were generally repeated several 
times ; the accounts of each department were then returned 
to its chief, and fair copies of them were made, after which 
they passed through the hands of the Intendant, who finally 
inspected them, together with the Emperor, in presence of 
the Grand Marshal. By these means all expenditure was 
fixed, and seldom indeed did any of the great officers obtain 
the sums for which they had asked. 

Bonaparte's hour for rising was irregular, but usually it 
was seven o'clock. If he woke during the night, he would 


resume his .work, or take a bath or a meal. He generally 
awoke depressed, and apparently in pain. He suffered fre- 
quently from spasms in the stomach, which produced vomit- 
ing. At times this appeared to alarm him greatly, as if he 
feared he had taken poison, and then it was difficult to pre- 
vent him from increasing the sickness by taking emetics.* 

The only persons who had the right of entry into his 
dressing-room without being announced were the Grand 
Marshal and the principal physician. The Keeper of the 
Wardrobe was announced, but was almost always admitted. 
He would have wished M. de Re*musat to employ these 
morning visits in giving him an account of all that was said 
or done at Court or in the city ; but my husband invariably 
declined the task, and persevered in his determination with 
praiseworthy obstinacy. 

The other physicians or surgeons on duty might not come 
unless they were summoned. Bonaparte seemed to put no 
great faith in medicine it was frequently a matter of jest- 
ing with him ; but he had great confidence in Corvisart, and 
much esteem for him. He had good health and a strong 
constitution ; but, when he suffered from any indisposition, 
he became uneasy and nervous. He was occasionally troubled 
with a slight affection of the skin, and sometimes complained 
of his liver. He ate moderately, drank little, and indulged 
in no excesses of any kind. He took a good deal of coffee. 

While dressing, he was usually silent, unless a discussion 
arose between him and Corvisart on some medical subject. 
In everything he liked to go straight to the point, and, if any 
one was mentioned as being ill, his first question was always, 
"Will he die?" A doubtful answer displeased him, and 
would make him argue on the inefficiency of medical science. 

He acquired with great difficulty the art of shaving him- 
self. M. de Eemusat induced him to undertake this task on 
seeing that he was uneasy and nervous under the hands of a 
barber. After many trials, and when he had finally succeed- 

* The principal physician, Corvisart, gave me these details. 


ed, lie often said that the advice to shave himself with his 
own hand had been of signal service to him. 

Bonaparte so thoroughly accustomed himself during his 
reign to make no account of those about him, that this ha- 
bitual disregard pervaded all his habits. He had not any of 
the delicacy that is ordinarily imparted by training and edu- 
cation, and would make his toilet in the most thorough fash- 
ion in the presence of any person whomsoever. In the same 
way, if he got impatient while his valet was dressing him, 
he would fly into a passion, heedless of all respect for him- 
self or others. He would throw any garment that did not 
please him on the floor or into the fire. He attended to his 
hands and nails with great care. Several pairs of nail-scis- 
sors had to be in readiness, as he would break or throw them 
away if they were not sufficiently sharp. He never made 
use of any perfume except eau de Cologne, but of that he 
would get through sixty bottles in a month. He considered 
it a very wholesome practice to sprinkle himself thoroughly 
with eau de Cologne. Personal cleanliness was with him a 
matter of calculation, for, as I said before, he was naturally 

When his toilet was concluded, he went to his cabinet, 
where his private secretary was in attendance. Precisely at 
nine o'clock, the Chamberlain on duty, who had arrived at 
the palace at eight A. M.*, and had carefully inspected the 
whole suite of rooms, that all might be in perfect order, and 
seen that the servants were at their posts, knocked at the 
door and announced the levee. He never entered the cabi- 
net unless told to come in by the Emperor. I have already 
given an account of these levees. When they were over, 
Bonaparte frequently gave private audiences to some of the 
principal persons present princes, ministers, high officials 
or prefects on leave. Those who had not the right of entry 
to the levee could only obtain an audience by applying to 
the Chamberlain on duty, who presented their names to the 
Emperor. He generally refused to see the applicants. 


The levee and audiences would last until the hour of 
breakfast. That meal was served at eleven o'clock, in what 
was called the salon de service, the same apartment in which 
he held private audiences and received his ministers. The 
Prefect of the Palace announced breakfast, and remained 
present, standing all the time. During breakfast the Em- 
peror received artists or actors. He would eat quickly of 
two or three dishes, and finish with a large cup of coffee 
without milk. After breakfast he returned to his work. 
The salon of which I have just spoken was ordinarily occu- 
pied by the Colonel-General of the Guards on duty for the 
week, the Chamberlain, the Equerry, the Prefect of the 
Palace, and, on a hunting morning, one of the officers of 
the hunt. 

The ministerial councils were held on fixed days. There 
were three State councils a week. For five or six years 
the Emperor frequently presided over them, his Colonel- 
General and the Chamberlain being in attendance on 
him. He is said to have generally displayed remarkable 
ability in carrying on or suggesting discussions. He fre- 
quently astonished his hearers by observations full of lumin- 
ousness and depth on subjects which would have seemed 
to be quite beyond his reach. In more recent times he 
showed less tolerance for others in these discussions, and 
adopted a more imperious tone. The State council, or 
that of the Ministers, or his own private work, lasted to 
six P. M. 

After 1806 he almost always dined alone with his wife, 
except when the Court was. at Fontainebleau ; he would 
then invite guests to his table. He had all courses of the 
dinner placed before him at once ; and he ate without pay- 
ing any attention to his food, helping himself to whatever 
was at hand, sometimes taking preserves or creams before 
touching the more solid dishes. The Prefect of the Palace 
was present during dinner; two pages waited, and were 
assisted by the footmen. The dinner-hour was very irregu- 


lar. If there happened to be any important business re- 
quiring his immediate attention, Bonaparte worked on, 
detaining the Council until six, seven, or even eight o'clock 
at night, without showing the smallest fatigue, or ap- 
pearing to feel the need of food. Mme. Bonaparte waited 
for him with admirable patience, and never uttered a com- 

The evenings were very short. I have already said how 
they were spent. During the winter of 1806 there were 
many small dancing entertainments given, both at the Tuile- 
ries and by the Princes. The Emperor would make his 
appearance at them for a few minutes, and always looked 
excessively bored. The routine of the coucher (retiring 
for the night) was the same as it was in the morning, except 
that the attendants came in last to receive orders. The Em- 
peror in undressing and going to bed had no one near him 
except the valets de chambre. 

No one slept in his chamber. His Mameluke lay 
near the inner entrance. The aide-de-camp of the day 
slept in the anteroom with his head against the door. In 
the rooms on the other side of this salon or anteroom, a 
Marshal of the Home Guard and two footmen kept watch 
all night. 

No sentinel was ever seen in the interior of the palace. 
At the Tuileries there was one upon the staircase, because 
the staircase is open to the public, and they were everywhere 
at the outer doors. Bonaparte was very well protected by 
very few persons ; this was the care of the Grand Marshal. 
The police of the palace was extremely well managed. The 
name of every person who entered its doors was always 
known. No one resided there except the Grand Marshal, 
who ate there, and whose servants wore the Emperor's liv- 
ery ; but of these there were only the valets de chambre and 
the femmes de chambre. The Lady of Honor had an apart- 
ment which Mme. de la Rochefoucauld never occupied. At 
the time of the second marriage Bonaparte wished Mme. de 


Montebello* to live there altogether. In the time of the 
Empress Josephine the Comtesse d'Arberg and her daugh- 
ter, who had come from Brussels to be Lady of the Palace, 
were always lodged in the palace. At Saint Cloud all the 
attendants resided there. The Grand Equerry lived at the 
stables, which were or are those of the King.f The Inten- 
dant and the Treasurer were installed there. 

The Empress Josephine had six hundred thousand francs 
for her personal expenses. This sum in no degree sufficed 
her, and she incurred many debts annually. A hundred and 
twenty thousand francs were allowed her for her charities. 
The Archduchess had but three hundred thousand francs, 
and sixty thousand for her private purse. The reason of 
this difference was, that Mme. Bonaparte was compelled to 
assist many poor relations, whose claims on her were great 
and frequent. She having certain connections in France 
and the Archduchess none, Mme. Bonaparte was naturally 
obliged to spend more money. She gave much away, but, 
as she never made her presents from her own resources, but 
bought incessantly, her generosity only augmented her debts 
to an appalling degree. 

Notwithstanding the wishes of her husband, she could 
never submit to either order or etiquette in her private life. 
He was unwilling that any salesman of any kind should be 
received by her, but was obliged to relinquish this point. 
Her small private apartments were crowded by these people, 
as well as by artists of all kinds. She had a perfect mania 
for being painted, and gave her pictures to whomsoever 
wanted them relations, friends, femmes de chambre, and 
even to her tradespeople, who brought her constantly dia- 
monds and jewels, stuffs and gewgaws of all kinds. She 
bought everything, rarely asking the price, and the greater 

* La Marechale Lannes. 

f Hotel de Longueville, on the Carrousel. It is unnecessary to say that 
these stables and this hotel were demolished at the time of the changes made 
in the Louvre. 


part of the time forgot what she had bought. From the 
beginning she had signified to her Lady of Honor and her 
Lady in Waiting that they were not to interfere with her 
wardrobe. All matters of that kind were arranged between 
herself and her femmes de chanibre, of whom she had six or 
eight, I think. 

She rose at nine o'clock. Her toilet consumed much 
time ; a part of it was entirely private, when she lavished 
unwearied efforts on the preservation of her person and on 
its embellishment, with the aid of paint and powder. When 
all this was accomplished, she wrapped herself in a long and 
very elegant peignoir trimmed with lace, and placed herself 
under the hands of her hair-dresser. Her chemises and skirts 
were embroidered and trimmed. She changed all her linen 
three times each day, and never wore any stockings that were 
not new. While her hair was being dressed, if we presented 
ourselves at her door, we were admitted. When this process 
was finished, huge baskets were brought in containing many 
different dresses, shawls, and hats. There were in summer 
muslin or percale robes, much embroidered and trimmed ; 
in winter there were redingotes of stuff or of velvet. From 
these baskets she selected her costume for the day, and al- 
ways wore in the morning a hat covered with feathers or 
flowers, and wraps that made considerable drapery about 
her. The number of her shawls was between three and four 
hundred. She had dresses made of them, coverings for her 
bed, cushions for her dog. She always wore one in the 
morning, which she draped about her shoulders with a grace 
that I never saw equaled. Bonaparte, who thought these 
shawls covered her too much, tore them off, and more than 
once threw them in the fire ; after which she would then 
send for another. She purchased all that were brought to 
her, no matter at what price. I have seen her buy shawls 
for which their owner asked eight, ten, and twelve thousand 
francs. They were the great extravagance of this Court, 
where those which cost only fifty louis were looked at dis- 


dainf ullj, and where the women boasted of the price they 
had paid for those they wore.* 

I have already described the life which Mme. Bonaparte 
led. This life never varied in any respect. She never 
opened a book, she never took up a pen, and never touched 
a needle ; and yet she never seemed to be in the least bored. 
She was not fond of the theatre ; the Emperor did not wish 
her to go there without him, and receive applause which he 
did not share. She walked only when she was at Malmaison, 
a dwelling that she never ceased to improve, and on which 
she had spent enormous sums. 

Bonaparte was extremely irritated by these expenditures. 
He would fly into a passion, and his wife would weep, prom- 
ising to be wiser and more prudent ; after which she would 
go on in the same way, and in the end he was obliged to pay 
the bills. The evening toilet was as careful as that of the 
morning. Everything was elegant in the extreme. We 
rarely saw the same dresses and the same flowers appear the 
second time. In the evening the Empress appeared without 
a hat, with flowers, pearls, or precious stones in her hair. 
Then her dresses showed her figure to perfection, and the 
most exquisite toilet was that which was most becoming to 
her. The smallest assembly, the most informal dance, was 
always an occasion for her to order a new costume, in spite 
of the hoards of dresses which accumulated in the various 
palaces ; for she had a mania for keeping everything. It 
would be utterly impossible for me to give any idea of the 
sums she spent in this way. At every dressmaker's and mil- 
liner's in Paris, go in when we would, we were sure to find 
something being made for her or ordered by her. I have 
seen several lace robes, at forty, fifty, and even a hundred 
thousand francs each. It is almost incredible that this pas- 
sion for dress, which was so entirely satisfied, should never 

* Of course, my readers know that these were Cashmere shawls, which the 
Egyptian campaign and the Oriental mania that followed had made very fash- 


have exhausted itself. After the divorce, at Malmaison, she 
had the same luxurious tastes, and dressed with as much care, 
even when she saw no one. The day of her death she insisted 
on being dressed in a very elegant robe de cfianibre^ because 
she thought that the Emperor of Russia would come perhaps 
to see her. She died covered with ribbons and pale rose- 
colored satin. These tastes and these habits on her part 
naturally increased the expenses of those about her, and we 
found it difficult at times to appear in suitable toilets.* 

Her daughter was dressed with equal richness it was 
the tone of this Court ; but she had order and economy, and 
never seemed to take much pleasure in dress. Mine. Murat 
and the Princess Borghese put their whole souls into it. 
Their court dresses cost them generally from ten to fifteen 
thousand francs ; and they supplemented them by rare pearls 
and jewels without price. 

"With all this extreme luxury, the exquisite taste of the 
Empress, and the rich costumes of the men, the Court was, 
as may readily be imagined, most brilliant. It may even- be 
said that on certain days the coup cPceil was absolutely daz- 
zling. Foreigners were much struck by it. It was during 
this year (1806) that the Emperor decided to give occasional 
concerts in the Hall of the Marshals, as a certain large hall, 
hung with portraits of the Marshals, was called. These por- 
traits are very likely there now. This hall was lighted by 
an infinite number of candles, and to it were invited all those 
persons who had any connection with the Government and 
those who had been presented. Thus there were assembled 
usually between four and five hundred persons. 

After haying walked through the saloons where all these 
people were assembled, Bonaparte entered the hall and took 
his place at the end ; the Empress on his left, as well as the 
Princesses of his family, in the most dazzling costumes ; his 
mother on his right still a very handsome woman, with an 

* Mmes. Savary and Maret expended for their toilets fifty and sixty thousand 
francs per annum. 


air of great distinction. His brothers were richly dressed, 
and they with foreign princes and other dignitaries were 
seated. Behind were the grand officers, the chamberlains, 
and all the staff, in their embroidered uniforms. Upon the 
right and the left, in curved lines, sat two rows of ladies the 
Lady of Honor, the Lady in Waiting, and the Ladies of the 
Palace, almost all of them young, the greater number of them 
pretty and beautifully dressed.* Then came a large num- 
ber of ladies foreigners and Frenchwomen whose toilets 
were exquisite beyond words. Behind these two rows of 
seated ladies were men standing ambassadors, ministers, 
marshals, senators, generals, and so on all in the most gor- 
geous costumes. Opposite the imperial chairs were the mu- 
sicians, and as soon as the Emperor was seated they executed 
the best music, which, however, in spite of the strict silence 
that was enjoined and preserved, fell on inattentive ears. 
"When the concert was over, in the center of the room, which 
had been kept vacant, appeared the best dancers, male and 
female, from the opera, and executed a charming ballet. This 
part of the entertainment of the evening amused every one, 
even the Emperor. 

M. de Kemusat had all these arrangements under his 
charge, and it was no petty matter either, for the Emperor 
was extremely particular and exacting in regard to the most 
trivial details. M. de Talleyrand said sometimes to my hus- 
band, " I pity you, for you are called upon to amuse the 

The concert and the ballet did not last more than an hour 
and a half. Then the assembly went to supper, which was 
laid in the Gallery of Diana, and there the beauty of the 
gallery, the brilliancy of the lights, the luxury of the tables, 
the display of silver and glass, and the magnificence and ele- 

* A court dress cost at the least fifty louis, and we changed them very often. 
As a general thing this costume was embroidered in gold or silver, and trimmed 
with mother-of-pearl. Many diamonds were worn, in sprays and scattered 
among garlands for the hair, or set in bands for the neck and arms. 


gance of the guests, imparted to the whole scene something 
of the air of a fairy-tale. There was, however, something 
lacking. I will not say that it was the ease which can never 
be found in a court, but it was that feeling of security which 
each person might have brought there if the powers that 
presided had added a little more kindliness to the majesty 
by which they surrounded themselves. 

I have already spoken of Mme. Bonaparte's family. In 
the first years of her elevation she had brought four nephews 
and a niece to Paris from Martinique. These all bore the 
name of Tascher. For the young men situations were found, 
and the young lady was lodged in the Tuileries. She was 
by no means deficient in beauty, but the change of climate 
affected her health, and rendered impossible all the plans 
which the Emperor had formed for a brilliant marriage for 
her. At first he thought of marrying her to the Prince of 
Baden ; then for some time he destined her for a prince of 
the house of Spain. At last, however, she was married to 
the son of the Duke of Arenberg, who was of a Belgian fam- 
ily. This marriage, so much desired by this family, who 
hoped from it to gain great advantages, was in no degree a 
success. The husband and wife never suited each other, and 
after a time their misunderstandings and incompatibilities 
culminated in a separation which was without scandal. After 
the divorce the Arenbergs, disappointed in their ambitious 
hopes and plans, openly evinced their discontent at this alli- 
ance, and after the King's return the. marriage was complete- 
ly broken. Mme. de lives to-day very obscurely in 


The eldest of her brothers, after residing in France some 
two or three years without being in the least dazzled by the 
honor of having an aunt who was an Empress, began to 
grow very weary of the Court ; and, having no taste for mili- 
tary life, he yielded to his homesickness, and asked and ob- 
tained permission to return to the colonies. He took some 
money back with him, and, leading a calm life there, has 


probably more than once congratulated himself on this 
philosophical departure. Another brother was attached to 
Joseph Bonaparte, and remained in Spain in his military 
service. He married Mile. Clary, daughter of a merchant at 
Marseilles, and niece of Mme. Joseph Bonaparte.* A third 
brother married the daughter of the Princess of Leyen. He 
is now with her in Germany. The fourth brother was in- 
firm, and lived with his sister. I do not know what became 
of him. 

The Beauharnais have also profited by the elevation of 
Mme. Bonaparte, and continued to crowd about her. I have 
told how she married the daughter of the Marquis de Beau- 
harnais to M. de la Yalette. The Marquis was for a long 
time Ambassador to Spain ; he is in France to-day. The 
Comte de Beauharnais, the son of the lady who wrote poetry 
and novels, f had married early in life Mile, de Lesay-Mar- 
nesia. From this marriage sprang a daughter, who resided 
after her mother's death with an old aunt, who was very 
religious. The Comte de Beauharnais, marrying again, never 
seemed to think of this young girl. Bonaparte made him 
Senator. M. de Lesay-Marnesia, uncle to the young Ste- 
phanie, suddenly recalled her from Languedoc ; she was 
fourteen or fifteen. He presented her to Mme. Bonaparte, 
who found her very pretty and refined in all her little ways. 
She placed her in Mme. Campan's boarding-school, from 
which she emerged in 1806 to find herself suddenly adopted 
by the Emperor, called Princess Imperial, and married short- 
ly after to the hereditary Prince of Baden. She was then 
seventeen, with a most agreeable face, great natural clever- 
ness and vivacity, a certain childishness in her manner which 
suited her well, a charming voice, lovely complexion, and 
clear, blue eyes. Her hair was exquisitely blonde. 

* I think he perished in the campaign of 1814. 

f It was upon her that the poet Lebrun made this malicious epigram : 
" Egle, fair and a poet, has two eccentricities : 
She makes her face, but does not make her verses." 


The Prince of Baden was not long in falling in love with 
her, but at first his affection was not returned. He was 
young, but very stout ; his face was commonplace and inex- 
pressive ; he talked little, seemed always out of place and 
bored, and generally fell asleep wherever he might be. The 
youthful Stephanie, gay, piquante, dazzled by her lot, and 
proud of being adopted by the Emperor, whom she then re- 
garded with some reason as the first sovereign in the world, 
gave the Prince of Baden to understand that he was greatly 
honored by her bestowing her hand upon him. In vain did 
they seek to 'correct her ideas in this respect. She made no 
objection to the marriage, and was quite ready to consent to 
its taking place whenever the Emperor wished it ; but she 
persisted in saying that Napoleon's daughter should marry a 
king or the son of a king. This little vanity, accompanied 
by many piquante jests, to which her seventeen years gave 
a charm, did not displease the Emperor, and in fact rather 
amused him. He became more interested than before in his 
adopted daughter, and precisely at the time he married her 
to the Prince he became, with considerable publicity, her 
lover. This conquest finished turning the head of the new 
Princess, and confirmed her in her haughtiness toward her 
future husband, who sought in vain to please her.* 

* This is the decree, issued March 3, 1806, by which the Emperor bestowed 
such distinguished rank on this young girl: "Our intention being that the 
Princess Stephanie Napoleon, our daughter, shall enjoy all the prerogatives of 
her rank, we hereby state that at the table and at all fetes she shall be placed 
at our side, and on those occasions when we ourselves shall be absent she will 
be placed on the right of her Majesty the Empress." 

The next day, March 4th, the marriage was announced to the Senate in these 
terms : " Senators, wishing to give a proof of the affection with which we re- 
gard the Princess Beauharnais, the niece of our well-beloved spouse, we have 
affianced her to Prince Charles, hereditary Prince of Baden. We have deemed 
it wise, under these circumstances, to adopt the said Stephanie Napoleon as our 
daughter. This union, resulting from the friendship which has existed for 
several years between ourselves and the Elector of Baden, has seemed to us in 
especial conformity with our policy and productive of good to our people. Our 
departments on the Rhine will welcome with pleasure an alliance which will be 


As soon as the Emperor had announced to the Senate the 
news of this marriage, the youthful Stephanie was installed 
in the Tuileries, in an apartment especially arranged for her, 
and there she received the deputations from the govern- 
mental bodied. Of that from the Senate her father was one. 
Her situation was certainly a little odd, but she received all 
the addresses and felicitations without any embarrassment, 
and replied extremely well. Having become the daughter 
of the sovereign, and being a favorite in addition, the Em- 
peror ordered that she should everywhere follow next to the 
Empress, thus taking precedence of the whole Bonaparte 
family. Mme. Murat was extremely displeased, who hated 
her with a cordial hatred, and could not conceal her pride 
and jealousy. Mademoiselle thought this very amusing, 
and laughed at it as she did at everything else, and succeeded 
in making the Emperor laugh also, as he was inclined to be 
amused at all she said. The Empress was much displeased 
at this new fancy of her husband's. She spoke seriously to 
her niece, and showed her how wrong it would be for her 
not to resist the efforts which Bonaparte was making to 
complete her seduction. Mile, de Beauharnais listened to 
her aunt's counsels with some docility. She confided to her 
certain attempts, sometimes extremely bold, made by her 
adopted father, and promised to conduct herself with caution 
and reserve. These confidences renewed all the former dis- 
cord of the Imperial household. Bonaparte, unchanged, did 
not take the trouble to conceal his inclination from his wife, 
and, too sure of his power, thought it extremely unhandsome 
in the Prince of Baden that he should be wounded by what 
was going on under his very eyes. Nevertheless, the fear of 

to them a new motive for cultivating their commercial and neighborly relations 
with the subjects of the Elector. The distinguished qualities of Prince Charles 
of Baden and the particular affection that he has shown us under all circum 
stances are to us a sure guarantee for the happiness of our daughter. Accus 
tomed to share with you all that interests us, we determined to no longer delay 
bringing to your knowledge an alliance that is so agreeable to ourselves." 



an outburst and the number of eyes fixed upon all the per- 
sons concerned rendered him prudent. On the other side, 
the young girl, who only wished to amuse herself, showed 
more resistance than he had at first anticipated. But she hated 
her husband. The evening of her marriage it was impossible 
to persuade her to receive him in her apartment. A little 
later the Court went to Saint Cloud, and with it the young 
pair. Nothing, however, could induce the Princess to per- 
mit her husband to approach her. He complained to the 
Empress, who scolded her niece. The Emperor, however, 
upheld her, and his own hopes revived. All this had a very 
bad effect, which at last the Emperor realized ; and at the 
end of some little time occupied with grave affairs, fatigued 
by the importunity of his wife, struck by the discontent of the 
young Prince, and persuaded that he had to do with a young 
person who only wished to amuse herself by coquetting with 
him he consented to the departure of the Prince of Baden, 
who took his wife away with him. She shed many tears at 
leaving France, regarding the principality of Baden as a land 
of exile. When she arrived there she was received somewhat 
coldly by the reigning Prince. She lived for a long time 
on bad terms with her husband. Secret negotiators were 
sent from France to make her understand how important it 
was to her that she should become the mother of a Prince 
an hereditary Prince in his turn. She submitted ; but the 
Prince, rendered frigid by so much resistance, now showed 
very little tenderness toward her, and this marriage seemed 
destined to make them both very unhappy. It was not 
eventually so, however ; and we shall see later that the Prin- 
cess of Baden, having acquired a little more sense with years, 
began at last to recognize her duty, and by her good conduct 
succeeded finally in regaining the affection of the Prince, 
and enjoyed the advantages of a union which she at first had 
so entirely under-estimated.* 

I have 'not as yet mentioned the fact that among the 

* The Prince of Baden is brother to the Empress of Russia. 


amusements of this Court was an occasional theatrical rep- 
resentation a comedy played at Malmaison which was no 
uncommon thing during the first year of the Consulate. 
Prince Eugene and his sister had real talent in this direction, 
and found great amusement in exercising it. At this time 
Bonaparte too was greatly interested in these representations, 
which were given before a limited audience. A pretty hall 
was built at Malmaison, and we played there very often. But 
by degrees the rank of the family became too exalted for 
this kind of pleasure, and finally it was permitted only on 
certain occasions, like that of the birthday of the Empress. 
When the Emperor came back from Vienna, Mme. Louis 
Bonaparte took it into her head to have an appropriate little 
vaudeville arranged in which we all played, and each sang a 
verse. A number of persons had been invited, and Malmai- 
son was illuminated in a charming manner. It was some- 
what of a trying ordeal to appear on the stage before an 
audience like this, but the Emperor showed himself particu- 
larly well disposed. We played well. Mme. Louis had, and 
was entitled to have, a great triumph. The verses were 
pretty, the flattery delicate, and the evening a complete suc- 
cess.* It was really curious to observe the tone in which each 

* This representation may have been given a trifle later than the date I have 
stated. At all events, when Barre, Radet, and Desfontaines, the great vaude- 
villists of that time, presented to the public of Paris this same piece, they called 
it " La Colonne de Rosbach." They seemed to have written it in honor of the 
Jena campaign. It is true that the authors could without any trouble have 
changed the scene from the war of 1805 to the Prussian campaign; but neither 
the courtiers nor the playwrights concerned themselves upon this point. It is, 
however, quite certain that the role of the old Alsatian woman is much as my 
grandmother related it. The princesses were her daughters or her nieces. This 
Alsatian showed the greatest enthusiasm for the Emperor, and sang this stanza, 
which my father's wonderful memory permitted him to retain, and which I learned 
from him : 

Air: " J'ai vu partout dan mes voyages." 

" All through the day my thoughts are of the glorious feats of my hero : 
All through the night my dreams repeat my thoughts. 


said in the evening, " The Emperor laughed, the Emperor 
applauded!" and how we congratulated each other. I 
particularly, who accosted him always with a certain reserve, 
found myself all at once in a better position toward him, in 
consequence of the manner in which I had fulfilled the 
part of an old peasant-woman who dreamed continually that 
her hero did the most incredible things, and who saw events 
surpass her wildest dreams. After the play was over, he 
paid me a few compliments. We had played with our 
whole hearts, and he seemed somewhat touched. "When I 
saw him in this mood thus suddenly and unexpectedly 
moved by emotion, I was tempted to exclaim, " Why will 
you not allow yourself occasionally to feel and think like 
other men ? " I felt a sensation of intense relief on these 
rare occasions, for it seemed to me that hope once more 
revived within me. Ah ! how easily the great master us, 
and how little trouble they need take to make themselves 
beloved ! Perhaps this last reflection has already escaped 
me, but I have made it so often during the last twelve years 
of my life, and it presses so heavily upon me whenever I look 
back upon the past, that it is by no means extraordinary 
that I should express it more than once. 

Dreams, I am told, are but follies and fables ; 

But when they are of him, however wild and improbable they may seem, 

They are always accomplished." 

In the memoirs of Bourrienne some details may be found of these repre- 
sentations at Malmaison. These vaudevilles were much the fashion at this 
Court ; they were all the literature known to many of the persons of that 
time. P. R. 


The Emperor's Court His Ecclesiastical Household His Military Household 
The Marshals The Ladies Delille Chateaubriand Mme. de Genlis 
Eomances Literature Arts. 

BEFOEE resuming the succession of events, I have a strong 
desire to dwell a little on the names of those persons who 
at this time composed the Court, and who occupied a distin- 
guished position in the Government. I shall not be able, 
however, to draw a series of portraits which can vary enough, 
one from the other, to be piquant. We know very well 
that despotism is the greatest of levelers. It regulates the 
thoughts, it determines both actions and words; and the 
regulations to which all submit are often so strictly observed 
that the exteriors are assimilated, and perhaps even some of 
the impressions received. 

I remember that during the winter of 1814: the Empress 
Maria Louisa received a large number of persons every even- 
ing. They came to obtain news of the army, in whose move- 
ments and plans every one was deeply interested. At the 
moment when the Emperor, in his pursuit of the Prussian 
General Bliicher, left to the Austrian army leisure to ad- 
vance as far as Fontainebleau, Paris believed itself about to 
fall into the power of strangers. Many persons met in the 
saloons of the Empress and questioned each other with great 
anxiety. Toward the end of this evening M. de Talleyrand 
came to call on me after leaving the Tuileries. He told me 
of the anxiety which he had witnessed, and then said: 
" What a man, madame, this must be, who can cause the 


Comte de Montesquieu and the Councilor of State Boulay 
(de la Meurthe)* to experience the same anxiety, and to 
evince it in the same words ! " He had found these two 
persons with the Empress. They had both struck him by 
their pallor, and both expressed their dread of the events 
which they began to foresee in the future.f 

With few exceptions either because chance did not 
gather around the Emperor persons of any marked individ- 
uality, or because of the uniformity of conduct of which I 
have just spoken I can not recall many purely personal 
peculiarities which deserve to be commemorated. Setting 

* The Comte de Montesquieu was then Grand Chamberlain. Boulay (de la 
Meurthe) had been a member of the Left of the Five Hundred, and had drawn 
up the famous law of the suspects. 

f My father, in the last days of his life, reading these Memoirs and deciding 
to publish them, wrote, dpropos of this conversation, the following note: "The 
observation of M. de Talleyrand was made at a soiree where I was or had been 
present. I did not hear the remark, but I remember that my mother repeated 
it to us. It was even more distinctly stated than she has given it. One even- 
ing in the first two months of 1814, or rather in the last months of 1813, one 
day when I was on leave, I went to the theatre in the evening, and on coming 
back found in my mother's small salon, in the entresol of No. 6 Place Louis 
XV., my father, M. Pasquier, and M. de Talleyrand. The latter was speaking, 
and describing having the breathless attention of his listeners the situation 
of public affairs, which was deplorable enough. He did not cease speaking as 
I entered. They signed to me, however, not to withdraw, and I too listened 
with eager interest. M. de Talleyrand this time spoke with earnest force and 
simplicity ; he passed in review all the powers and the men of the moment, in- 
sisting that things were in a desperate position, but attributing this position 
less to the situation itself than to the character of the Emperor and to the dis- 
position of the people by whom he was surrounded. M. de Talleyrand insisted 
that common sense, courage, and ability were lacking on all sides, or were not 
united in any one person in a degree sufficient to hold back the Empire and its 
master on the downward slope that led to their ruin. It was one of those rare 
occasions when I saw M. de Talleyrand at his best a thing which never hap- 
pened to me more than two or three times in my life. This was the first time 
that I had ever heard him talk politics. This conversation was, I think, in- 
tended more especially for M. Pasquier, who listened with more deference than 
assent. It seemed to me that he was not altogether pleased, either because he 
recognized with regret the truth of what was said, or because he was unwilling 
to receive such confidences." P. B. 


the principal figures aside, as well as the events which I 
propose to relate, I have but the names of the others to re- 
count, the costumes which they wore, and the duties with 
which they were intrusted. It is a hard thing for men to 
feel that the sovereign to whom they are attached has a 
thorough and universal contempt for human nature. Such 
a consciousness saddens the spirits, discourages the soul, 
and compels each man to confine himself to the purely 
material duties of his position, which he ends by regard- 
ing as mere business. Each one of these men who com- 
posed the Court and the Government of the Emperor had 
undoubtedly a mind of his own, and especial feelings and 
opinions. Some among them silently practiced certain vir- 
tues, others concealed their faults and even their vices. But 
both appeared oh the surface only at the word of command, 
and, unfortunately for the men of that time, Bonaparte be- 
lieved that more was to be made out of the bad side of hu- 
man nature than from the good, and therefore looked for 
vices rather than for virtues. He liked to discover weak- 
nesses, and profited by them ; and, where there were no vices, 
he encouraged these weaknesses, or, if he could do no better, 
he worked on their fears anything to prove himself always 
and constantly the strongest. Thus he was by no means i]l 
pleased that Cambaceres, though possessing estimable and dis- 
tinguished qualities, allowed his foolish pride to be seen, and 
gave himself the reputation of a certain license of morals 
and habits which counterbalanced "the just admiration ren- 
dered to his cultivation and to his natural probity. Nor did 
the Emperor ever deplore the indolent immorality of M. de 
Talleyrand, his careless indifference, nor the small value he 
placed on the esteem of the public. He was infinitely amused 
by what he saw fit to call the silliness of the Prince de Neu- 
chatel, and the servile flattery of M. Maret. 

He took advantage of the avarice which he himself had 
developed in Savary, and of the callousness of Duroc's 
disposition. He never shrank from the remembrance that 


Fouche had once been a Jacobin; indeed, lie said with a 
smile : " The only difference is that he is now a rich Jacobin ; 
but that's all I want." 

His Ministers he regarded and treated as more or less 
efficient clerks, and he used to say, " I should not know what 
to do with them if they were not men of mere ordinary abili- 
ties and character." 

If any one had been conscious of real superiority of any 
kind, he must needs have endeavored to hide it ; and it is 
probable that, warned by an instinctive sense of danger, 
everybody affected dullness or vacuity when those qualities 
were' not real. 

Memoirs of this period will suffer from this remarkable 
feature of it, which will give rise to a plausible, though un- 
merited, accusation against the writers of being malevolent 
in their views, partial toward themselves, and extremely se- 
vere toward others. Each writer will in reality be able to 
tell his own secret only, but will have been unable to pene- 
trate that of his neighbor. 

Ecclesiastical influence in the Emperor's household was 
insignificant. Mass was celebrated in his presence every 
Sunday, and that was all. I have already spoken of Cardi- 
nal Fesch. In 1807 M. de Pradt, Bishop of Poitiers, and 
subsequently Archbishop of Mechlin, made his appearance 
at Court. He was clever and scheming, verbose but amus- 
ing, and fond of gossip ; he held liberal opinions, but he 
expressed them in cynical language. He attempted many 
things without perfectly succeeding in any one of them. He 
could, indeed, talk over the Emperor himself, and he may 
perhaps have given him good advice ; but, when he was ap- 
pointed to put his own counsels into action, nothing came of 
the attempt, for he possessed neither the confidence nor the 
esteem of the public. 

The Abbe de Broglie, Bishop of Ghent, was cunning, 
but also imprudent ; he obtained at a cheap rate the honor 
of persecution. 


The Abbe de Boulogne, Bishop of Troyes, proved him- 
self in those days as eager to extol despotism as he now is to 
emerge from the obscurity to which he has happily been 
reduced by the constitutional government of the King.* 

Bonaparte made use of the clergy, but he disliked priests. 
He had both philosophical and revolutionary prejudices 
against them. I do not know whether he was a deist or an 
atheist, but he habitually ridiculed everything connected 
with religion in familiar conversation ; and, besides, he was 
taken up too much with the affairs of this world to concern 
himself with the next. I may venture to say, that the im- 
mortality of his name was to him of much greater impor- 
tance than that of his soul. He had an antipathy to pious 
persons, and invariably accused them of hypocrisy. When 
the priesthood in Spain stirred up the people against him, 
when he met with opposition from the French Bishops which 
did them honor, when the Pope's cause was embraced by 
great numbers, he was quite confounded, and said more than 
once, " I thought men were more advanced than they really 

The military household of the Emperor was numerous, 
but, except in times of war, its members had to discharge 
duties of a civil nature. Dreading the recollections of the 
field of battle, he distributed the various functions on another 
footing at the palace of the Tuileries. He made chamber- 
lains of the generals, and subsequently he obliged them to 
wear embroidered uniforms, and to exchange their swords 
for court rapiers. This transformation was displeasing to 
many of them, but they had to submit, and, having been 
wolves, to become shepherds. There was, however, a good 
reason for this. A display of military renown would, to a 
certain extent, have eclipsed other classes whom it was neces- 
sary to conciliate ; military manners were by this expedient 
refined perforce, and certain recalcitrant marshals lost some 
of their prestige while acquiring the polish of court man- 

* I have already made sufficient mention of Cardinal Maury. 


ners. They became, indeed, slightly ridiculous by this ap- 
prenticeship a fact which Bonaparte knew how to turn to 

I believe I may confidently state that the Emperor did 
not like any of his marshals. He frequently found fault with 
them, sometimes in very serious respects. He accused them 
all of covetousness, which he deliberately encouraged by his 
gifts. One day he passed them all in review before me. On 
Davoust he pronounced the verdict which I think I have 
already mentioned : " Davoust is a man on whom I may be- 
stow glory ; he will never know how to wear it." Of Mar- 
shal Key he said : " He is ungrateful and factious. If I were 
destined to die by the hand of a marshal, I would lay a wager 
that hand would be his." I recollect that he said he regarded 
Moncey, Brune, Bessieres, Victor, and Oudinot as men of 
middling abilities, who would never be more than titled sol- 
diers. Massena he looked upon as effete, but it was evident 
he had formerly been jealous of him. Soult sometimes gave 
him trouble ; he was clever, rough, and vain, and he would 
argue with his master and dispute his conditions. Bonaparte 
could rule Augereau, who was rather unpolished in manner 
than obstinate. He was aware of Marmont's vanity, which 
he might wound with impunity, and of Macdonald's habitual 
ill humor. Lannes had been his comrade, and the Marshal 
would sometimes remind him of this : on such occasions he 
would be gently called to order. Bernadotte had more spirit 
than the others ; he was continually complaining, and, indeed, 
he often had cause for complaint. 

The way in which the Emperor curbed, rewarded, or 
snubbed with impunity men so proud and puffed up with 
military fame was very remarkable. Other writers can relate 
with what wonderful skill he made use of these men in war, 
and how he won fresh glory for himself by utilizing their 
fame, ever showing himself, in very truth, superior to all 

I need not give the names of the chamberlains ; the Im- 


perial Almanac supplies them. By degrees their number 
became considerable. They were taken from all ranks and 
classes. Those who were most assiduous and least talkative 
got on best ; their duties were troublesome and very tedious. 
In proportion as one's place was nearer to the Emperor, one's 
life became more burdensome. Persons who have had none 
but business relations with him can have no adequate idea of 
the unpleasantness of any that were closer ; it w,as always 
easier to deal with his intellect than with his temper. 

Nor shall I have much to relate concerning the ladies of 
the period. Bonaparte frequently said : " Women shall have 
no influence at my Court ; they may dislike me, but I shall 
have peace and quietness." He kept his word. We were 
ornamental at the fetes, and that was about all. Neverthe- 
less, as it is the privilege of beauty never to be forgotten, 
some of the ladies-in-waiting deserve a passing notice here. 
In Mme. de Mottevelle's Memoirs, she pauses to describe the 
beauties of her time, and I must not pass over in silence 
those of our own. 

At the head of the Empress's household was Mme. de la 
Eochefoucauld. She was short and deformed, not pretty, 
yet her face was not unattractive. Her large blue eyes, with 
black eyebrows, had a fine effect ; she was lively, fearless, 
and a clever talker ; a little satirical, but kind-hearted, and 
of a gay and independent spirit. She neither liked nor dis- 
liked any one at Court, lived on good terms with all, and 
looked at nothing very seriously. She considered she had 
done Bonaparte an honor by coming to his Court, and by 
dint of saying so she persuaded others of it, so that she was 
treated with consideration. She employed herself princi- 
pally in repairing her shattered fortunes, obtaining several 
ambassadorships for her husband, and giving her daughter in 
marriage to the younger son of the princely house of Bor- 
ghese. The Emperor thought her wanting in dignity, and 
he was right ; but he was always embarrassed in her com- 
pany, for he had no idea of the deference due to a woman, 


and she would answer him sharply. The Empress, too, was 
rather afraid of her, for in her easy manner there was no 
little imperiousness. She remained faithful to old friends 
who held opposite opinions to her own, or rather to what we 
may suppose to have been her own, judging by the post she 
occupied at Court. She was daughter-in-law to the Due de 
Liancourt, and she left the Court when the divorce took 
place. Ste died in Paris, under the Restoration. 

Mme. de la Yalette, the Mistress of the Robes, was 
daughter to the Marquis de Beauharnais. Her complexion 
had been slightly spoiled by small-pox, but she had a pleasing 
though expressionless face. Her gentleness almost amounted 
to inanity, and small vanities chiefly occupied her thoughts. 
Her mind was narrow, her conduct was correct. Her post 
was a complete sinecure, for Mme. Bonaparte allowed no one 
to interfere with her dress. In vain did the Emperor insist 
that Mme. de la Yalette should make up accounts, regulate 
expenditure, and superintend purchases ; he was obliged to 
yield, and to give up the idea of maintaining any order on 
these points, for Mme. de la Yalette was incapable of defend- 
ing the rights of her place in opposition to her aunt. She 
confined herself, therefore, to taking Mme. de la Rochefou 
cauld's duties when the latter absented herself on account of 
illness. Everybody knows what courage and energy misfor- 
tune and conjugal love subsequently developed in this young 

Chief among the Ladies of the Palace was Mme. de Lu- 
cay, who had held that position longest. In 1806 she was no 
longer young. She was a gentle and quiet person. Her 
husband was Prefect of the Palace ; their daughter married 
the younger son of the Count de Segur, and has since died. 

I come next on the list, and I feel inclined to make a lit- 
tle sketch of my myself ; I believe I can do this truthfully. 
I was twenty-three when I first came to Court ; I was not 
pretty, yet not altogether devoid of attraction, and I looked 
well in full dress. My eyes were fine, my hair was black, 


and I had good teeth ; my nose and face were too large in 
proportion to my figure, which was good, but small. I had 
the reputation of being a clever woman, which was almost a 
reproach at Court. In point of fact, I lack neither wit nor 
sense, but my warmth of feeling and of thought leads me to 
speak and act impulsively, and makes me commit errors 
which a cooler, even though less wise, person would avoid. 

I was often misinterpreted at Bonaparte's Court. I was 
lively, and was supposed to be scheming. I liked to be ac- 
quainted with persons of importance, and I was accused of 
being ambitious. I am too much devoted to persons and to 
causes which appear to me to have right on their side, to 
deserve the first accusation ; and my faithfulness to friends 
in misfortune is a sufficient answer to the second. Mme. 
Bonaparte trusted me more than others, and thereby put me 
into a difficult position ; people soon perceived this, and no 
one envied me the onerous distinction of her friendship. 
The preference which the Emperor at first showed me was a 
cause of greater jealousy. I reaped little benefit from his 
favor, but I was flattered by it and grateful for it ; and, so long 
as I felt a regard for him, I sought to please him. When 
my eyes were opened, I drew back ; dissimulation is abso- 
lutely opposed to my character. I came to Court too full of 
inquisitiveness. It seemed to me so curious a scene that I 
watched it closely, and asked many questions that I might 
fully understand it. It was often thought that I did this 
from design. In palaces no action is supposed to be without 
a motive ; " Cui bono f " is said on every occasion.* 

My impetuosity frequently brought me into trouble. E"ot 
that I acted altogether on impulse, but I was very young, very 
unaffected, because I had always been very happy ; in nothing 
was I sufficiently sedate, and my qualities sometimes did me 
as much harm as my defects. But, amid all this, I have met 

* I knew a man who always asked himself this question with great gravity, 
before deciding on the visits he should pay each evening. 


with friends who loved me, and of whom, no matter how I 
may be circumstanced, I shall retain a loving recollection. 

I soon began to suffer from disappointed hopes, betrayed 
affections, and mistaken beliefs. Moreover, my health failed, 
and I became tired of so arduous a life, and disenchanted 
both with men and things. I withdrew myself as far as 
possible, and found in my own home feelings and enjoy- 
ments that could not deceive. I loved my husband, my 
mother, my children, and my friends ; I should have been 
unwilling to give up the peaceful pleasure I found in their 
society. I contrived to retain a kind of liberty amid the 
numerous trivial duties of my post. Lastly, when I ap- 
proved of any one and when I ceased to do so, both states of 
mind too plainly showed. There could be no greater fault 
in the eyes of Bonaparte. He dreaded nothing in the world 
so much as that any one in his circle should use their critical 
faculty with regard to him. 

Mme. de Canisy, a great-niece of M. de Brienne, the 
former Archbishop of Sens, was a beautiful woman when 
first she came to Court. She was tall and well made, with 
eyes and hair of raven-black, lovely teeth, an aquiline nose, 
and a rich brunette complexion. 

Mme. Maret was a fine woman ; her features were regu- 
lar and handsome. She seemed to live on excellent terms 
with her husband, who imparted to her some of his own 
ambition. Seldom have I seen more unconcealed or more 
solicitous vanity in any one. She was jealous of every dis- 
tinction, and tolerated superior rank in the Princesses only. 
Born in obscurity, she aimed at the highest distinctions. 
"When the Emperor granted the title of countess to all the 
ladies-in-waiting, Mme. Maret felt annoyed at the equality it 
implied, and, obstinately refusing to bear it, she remained 
plain Mme. Maret until her husband obtained the title of 
Due de Bassano. Mme. Savary and she were the most ele- 
gantly dressed women at Court. Their dress is said to have 
cost more than fifty thousand francs a year. Mme. Maret 

MME. NARET. 397 

thought that the Empress did not sufficiently distinguish her 
from the others ; she therefore made common cause with the 
Bonapartes against her. She was feared and distrusted with 
some reason, for she repeated things which reached the ear 
of the Emperor through her husband, and did a great deal of 
harm. She and M. Maret would have liked people to pay 
regular court to them, and many persons lent themselves to 
this pretension. As I showed a decided objection to doing 
so, Mme. Maret took an aversion to me, and contrived to 
inflict many petty annoyances upon me. 

Any one who chose to speak evil of others to Bonaparte 
was pretty sure of gaining his ear ; for he was always credu- 
lous of evil. He disliked Mme. Maret ; he even judged her 
too severely ; nevertheless he chose to believe all stories that 
came to him through her. I believe her to have been one of 
the greatest sufferers by the fall of that great Imperial scaf- 
folding which brought us all to the ground. 

During the King's first residence in Paris, from 1814 to 
1815, the Due de Bassano was accused, on sufficient grounds, 
of having carried on a secret correspondence with the Em- 
peror in the island of Elba, and kept him informed of the 
state of feeling in France, so that he was induced to believe 
he might once more offer himself to the French as their 
ruler. Napoleon returned, and his sudden arrival clashed 
with and thwarted the revolution which Fouche and Carnot 
were preparing. Then these two, being obliged to accept 
Bonaparte, compelled him to reign during the Hundred 
Days according to their own system. The Emperor wished 
to take M. Maret, whom he had so many reasons for trust- 
ing, back into his service ; but Fouche and Carnot strongly 
objected to Maret, as a man of no ability and only capable of 
blind devotion to his master's interest. Some idea of the 
state of bondage in which the men of the Revolution kept 
the netted lion at this period may be gathered from the 
answer that Carnot ventured to make when the Emperor 
proposed putting M. Maret into the Government. "No, 


certainly not ; the French do not wish to see two Blacas in 
one year" alluding to the Count de Blacas, whom the 
King had brought with him from England, and who had all 
the influence of a favorite. 

On the second fall of Bonaparte, Maret and his wife has- 
tened to leave Paris. M. Maret was exiled, and they repaired 
to Berlin. For the last few months Mme. Maret has been 
again in Paris, endeavoring to obtain the recall of her hus- 
band. It is not unlikely she may succeed, such is the kind- 
ness of the King.* 

Pride of rank was not confined to Mme. Maret alone. 
Mme. Ney also possessed it. She was niece to Mme. Cam- 
pan, first dresser to Marie Antoinette, and daughter of Mme. 
Augue, also one of the Queen's dressers, and she had been 
tolerably well educated. She was a mild, kind-hearted wo- 
man, but her head was a little turned by the honors to which 
she attained. She occasionally displayed a pretentiousness 
which, after all, was not inexcusable, for she based it on the 
great military renown of her husband, whose own pride was 
sufficiently self-asserting. Mme. Key, afterward Duchesse 
d'Elchingen, and later Princesse de la Moskowa, was in real- 
ity a very good, quiet woman, incapable of speaking or doing 
evil, and perhaps as incapable of saying or doing anything 
good. She enjoyed the privileges of her rank to the full, 
especially in the society of inferiors. She was much ag- 
grieved at the Restoration by certain differences in her posi- 
tion, and by the disdain of the ladies of the royal Court. 
She complained to her husband, and may have contributed 
not a little to irritate him against the new state of things, 
which, though not altogether ousting him, laid them both 
open to little daily humiliations, quite unintentionally on the 
part of the King. On the death of her husband she took up 
her abode in Italy with three or four sons. Her means were 
much smaller than might have been supposed, and she had 
acquired habits of great luxury. I have seen her start for a 

* Written in June, 1819. 


watering-place, taking with her a whole household, so as to 
be waited on according to her liking. She took a bedstead, 
articles of furniture, a service of traveling-plate made ex- 
pressly for her, a train offourgons, and a number of couriers ; 
and she would affirm that the wife of a marshal of France 
could not travel otherwise. Her house was magnificently 
appointed ; the purchase and furnishing cost eleven hundred 
thousand francs. Mme. Ney was tall and slight ; her fea- 
tures were rather large, her eyes fine. Her expression was 
mild and pleasant, and her voice very sweet. 

Mme. Lannes, afterward Duchesse de Montebello, was 
another of our beauties. There was something virginal in 
her face ; her features were pure and regular, her skin was 
of a delicate fairness. She was a good wife and an excellent 
mother, and was always cold, reserved, and silent in society. 
The Emperor appointed her Lady of Honor to the Arch- 
duchess, who became passionately fond of her, and whom 
she completely governed. She accompanied the Archduchess 
on her return to Yienna, and then came back to Paris, where 
she now lives in retirement, entirely devoted to her children. 

The number of the ladies-in-waiting became by degrees 
considerable, but, on the whole, there is little to be said 
about so many women, all playing so small a part. I have 
already spoken of Mmes. de Montmorency, de Mortemart, 
and de Chevreuse. There remains for me simply to name 
Mmes. de Talhouet, Lauriston, de Colbert, Marescot, etc. 
These were quiet, amiable persons, of ordinary appearance, 
no longer young. The same might be said of a number of 
Italians and Belgians who came to Paris for their two months 
of Court attendance, and who were all more or less silent 
and apparently out of their element. In general sufficient 
regard was paid to youth and beauty in the selection of 
the ladies-in-waiting ; they were always placed with ex- 
treme care. Some of them lived in this Court silent 
and indifferent; others received its homages with more or. 
less ease and pleasure. Everything was done quietly, be- 


cause Bonaparte willed that such should be the case. He 
had prudish caprices at times either in regard to himself or 
others. He objected to any demonstrations of friendship or 
dislike. In a life that was so busy, so regulated and dis- 
ciplined, there was not much chance for either the one or 
the other. 

Among the persons of whom the Emperor had composed 
the various households of his family, there were also ladies 
of distinction ; but at Court they were of still less importance 
than ourselves. 

I am inclined to believe that life was rather dreary under 
his mother's roof. With Mme. Joseph Bonaparte it was 
simple and easy. Mme. Louis Bonaparte gathered about her 
her old school companions, and kept up with them, so far as 
lay in her power, the familiarity of their youth. At Mine. 
Murat's, although a trifle stiff and stilted, things were care- 
fully regulated with order and discipline. Public opinion 
stigmatized the Princess Borghese ; her conduct cast an un- 
fortunate reflection upon the young and pretty women who 
formed her court. 

It may not be useless to linger here for a little, to say a 
few words in regard to those persons who were at this time 
distinguished in literature and art, and to the works which 
appeared from the foundation of the Consulate up to this 
year, 1806. Among the former I find four of whom I can 
speak with some detail.* 

Jacques Delille, whom we more generally know under 
the title of the Abbe de Delille, had seen the best years of 
his life pass away in the times which preceded our Revolu- 
tion. He united to brilliant talents the charms of sweetness 
of temper and agreeable manners. He acquired the title of 
Abbe because in those days it conferred a certain rank ; he 
dropped it after the Revolution to marry a woman of good 
family, commonplace, and by no means agreeable, but whose 
ministrations had become essential to him. Always received 

* Jacques Delille, M. de Chateaubriand, Mme. de Stae'l, Mme. de Genlis. 


in the best society of Paris, highly regarded by Queen Marie 
Antoinette, overwhelmed by kindnesses from the Comte 
d' Artois, he knew 'only the pleasant side of the life of a man 
of letters. He was petted and made much of ; his grace and 
simplicity of soul were very remarkable ; the magic of his 
diction was incomparable ? when he recited verses every one 
was eager for the pleasure of hearing him. The bloody 
scenes of the Revolution appalled this young and tender 
nature ; he emigrated, and met everywhere in Europe with 
a reception so warm that it consoled him for his exile. How- 
ever, when Bonaparte had reestablished order in France, M. 
Delille wished to return to his native land, and he came 
back to Paris with his wife. He had grown old and was 
nearly blind, but always delightful, and teeming with fine 
works which he meant to publish in his own country. Again 
did all literary people crowd about him, and Bonaparte him- 
self made some advances. The professor's chair in which he 
had inculcated with so much talent the principles of French 
literature was restored to him, and pensions were offered him 
as the price of a few laudatory verses. But M. Delille, desir- 
ing to preserve the liberty of the recollections which attached 
him irrevocably to the house of Bourbon, withdrew to a 
retired part of the city, and thus escaped both caresses and 
offers. He gave himself up exclusively to work, and an- 
swered every one with his own lines from " L'Homme des 

" Auguste triomphant'pour Virgile fut juste. 
J'imitai le poete, imitez-donc Auguste, 
Et laissez-moi sans nom, sans fortune, et sans fers, 
Rever au bruit des eaux, de la lyre et des vers."* 

If Bonaparte was offended by this resistance, he never 
showed it ; esteem and general affection were the aegis which 

* We had from him in the space of a few years translations of the " JSneid " 
and of " Paradise Lost," his own poem of " L'Homme des Champs," " L'lmagi- 
nation," and others, and finally " La Pitie," which appeared only in boards by 
order of the police. 


protected the amiable poet. He lived, therefore, a serene 
and tranquil life, and died too soon, since, with the senti- 
ments he had preserved, he would have rejoiced at the return 
of the Princes whom he had never ceased to love. 

In the times when Bonaparte was still only Consul, and 
when he amused himself in following up even less conspicu- 
ous persons, he took it into his head that he wished M. De- 
lille to see him, hoping perhaps to gain him over, or at all 
events to dazzle him. Mme. Bacciochi was bidden to invite 
the poet to pass an evening at her house. Some few per- 
sons, of whom I was one, were also invited. The First 
Consul arrived with something of the air of Jupiter Tonans, 
for he was surrounded by a great number of aides, who stood 
in line and showed some surprise at seeing their General 
take so much trouble for this frail old gentleman in a black 
coat, who seemed, moreover, a little afraid of them all. Bo- 
naparte, by way of doing something, took his seat at a card- 
table, and summoned me. I was the only woman in the 
salon whose name was not unknown to M. Delille, and I 
instantly understood that Bonaparte had selected me as the 
connecting link between the poet's time and that of the 
Consul. I endeavored to establish a certain harmony be- 
tween them. Bonaparte consented to the conversation being 
literary, and at first our poet seemed not insensible to the 
courtesy extended him. Both men became animated, but 
each in his own way ; and I very soon realized that neither 
the one nor the other produced the effect he desired and in- 
tended. Bonaparte liked to talk ; M. Delille was loquacious 
and told long stories ; they interrupted each other constantly ; 
they did not listen, and never replied ; they were both ac- 
customed to praise ; they each felt a conviction before many 
minutes had expired that they were not making a good im- 
pression on each other, and ended by separating with some 
fatigue, and perhaps discontented. After this evening M. De- 
lille said that the Consul's conversation smelled of gun-pow- 
der ; Bonaparte declared that the old poet was in his dotage. 


I know very little in regard to M. de Chateaubriand's 
youth. Having emigrated with his family, he knew in Eng- 
land M. de Fontanes, who saw his first manuscript, and en- 
couraged him in his intention of writing. On his return to 
France they kept up their relations, and I believe Chateau- 
briand was presented by M. de Fontanes to the First Consul. 
Having published the " Genie du Christianisme " at the 
time of the Concordat of 1801, he concluded that he had 
best dedicate his work to the restorer of religion. He was 
by no means wealthy ; his tastes, his somewhat disorderly 
character, his ambition, which was boundless though vague, 
and his excessive vanity, all inspired him with the desire as 
well as the need of attaching himself to something. I do 
not know under what title he was employed on a mission 
to Rome. He conducted himself there imprudently, and 
wounded Bonaparte. The ill humor that he had caused and 
his indignation at the death of the Due d'Enghien embroiled 
them completely. M. de Chateaubriand, on his return to 
Paris, saw himself surrounded by women who greeted and 
exalted him as if he had been a victim ; he eagerly embraced 
the opinions to which he has since adhered. It was not in 
his nature to wish to seclude himself, or to be forgotten by 
the world. He was put under surveillance, which gratified 
his vanity. Those who claim to know him intimately say 
that if Bonaparte, instead of having him watched, had sim- 
ply shown a more profound consciousness of his merits, 
Chateaubriand would have been completely won over. The 
author would not have been insensible to praise coming 
from so high a source. I repeat this opinion without assert- 
ing that it was well founded. I know, however, that it was 
also that of the Emperor, who said very openly, " The diffi- 
culty I have is not on the score of buying M. de Chateau- 
briand, but as regards paying him the price he sets upon 
himself." However this may be, he kept himself aloof, and 
frequented only the circles of the opposition. His journey 
to the Holy Land caused him to be forgotten for some time ; 


he suddenly reappeared, and published " Les Martyrs." The 
religious ideas found in every page of his works, set off with 
the coloring of his brilliant talents, formed of his admirers a 
sort of sect, and raised up enemies among the philosophical 
writers. The newspapers both praised and attacked him, 
and a controversy arose in regard to him, sometimes very 
bitter, which the Emperor favored, " because," he said, " this 
controversy occupies fine society." 

At the time of the appearance of " Les Martyrs " a kind 
of Royalist conspiracy broke out in Brittany. One of M. 
de Chateaubriand's cousins, who was found to be involved in 
it, was taken to Paris, tried, and condemned to death. I was 
connected with some of Chateaubriand's intimate friends; 
they brought him to me, and joined him in begging me to 
solicit, through the Empress, mercy for his relative. I asked 
him to give me a letter to the Emperor ; he refused, and 
seemed to feel the greatest repugnance to such a step, but 
consented to write to Mme. Bonaparte. He gave me at the 
same time a copy of " Les Martyrs," hoping that Bonaparte 
would look it over, and that it would soften him toward the 
author. As I was by no means sure that this would be 
enough to appease the Emperor, I advised M. de Chateau- 
briand to try several methods at the same time. 

" You are a relative," I said, " of M. de Malesherbes, 
whose name may always be uttered with the certainty of 
obtaining respect and consideration.* Let us now endeavor 
to make it of use, and name him when you write to the Em- 

M. de Chateaubriand surprised me greatly by rejecting 
this advice. He allowed me to see that his vanity would be 
wounded if he did not personally obtain that for which he 
asked. His pride of authorship was clearly his strongest 
feeling, and he wished to influence the Emperor in that ca- 
pacity. He consequently did not write precisely what I 

* Bonaparte returned to Mme. Montboissier, an tmigree, a portion of her 
estates, because she was the daughter of M. de Malesherbes. 


would have desired. I, however, took his letter, and did my 
best in addition. I even spoke to the Emperor, and seized 
upon a favorable moment to read to him some pages of " Les 
Martyrs." Finally, I mentioned M. de Malesherbes. 

" You are a skillful advocate," said the Emperor, " but 
you do not comprehend the affair. It is necessary for me to 
make an example in Brittany ; it will fall upon a man of 
very little interest, for this relation of M. de Chateaubriand 
has a mediocre reputation. I know that his cousin cares not 
one sou for him, and this fact is proved to me by the very 
things he has compelled you to do. He has had the childish- 
ness not to write to me ; his letter to the Empress is stiff 
and even haughty in tone. He would like to impress me 
with the importance of his talents ; I answer him with that 
of my policy , and in all conscience this ought not to humili- 
ate him. I have need of an example in Brittany to avoid a 
crowd of petty political prosecutions. This will give M. de 
Chateaubriand an opportunity of writing some pathetic pages, 
which he will read aloud in the Faubourg Saint- Germain. 
The fine ladies will weep, and you will see that this will 
console him!" 

It was impossible to shake a determination expressed in 
this way. All means that the Empress and I attempted 
were useless, and the sentence was executed. That same 
day I received a note from M. de Chateaubriand, which in 
spite of myself recalled Bonaparte's words. He wrote to 
me that he had thought it his duty to be present at the 
death of his relative, and that he had shuddered afterward 
on seeing dogs lap up the blood. The whole note was 
written in a similar tone. I had been touched, but this re- 
volted me. I do not know whether it was he or myself that 
was in fault. A few days later M. de Chateaubriand, dressed 
in full mourning, did not appear much afflicted, but his irri- 
tation against the Emperor was greatly augmented. 

This event brought me into connection with him. His 
works pleased me, but his presence disturbed my liking for 


them. He was, and is still, much spoiled by society, par- 
ticularly by women. He places his associates in a most em- 
barrassing position at times, because one sees immediately 
that one has nothing to teach him as to his own value. He 
invariably takes the first place, and, making himself com- 
fortable there, becomes extremely amiable. But his conver- 
sation, which displays a vivid imagination, exhibits also a 
certain hardness of heart, and a selfishness that is but ill con- 
cealed. His works are religious, and indicate none but the 
noblest sentiments. He is in earnest when he writes, but 
he lacks gravity in his bearing. His face is handsome, his 
form somewhat awry, and he is careful and even affected in 
his toilet. It would seem that he prefers in love that which 
is generally known as les bonnes fortunes. It is plain that 
he prefers to have disciples rather than friends. In fine, I 
conclude from all that I have seen that it is better to read 
him than to know him. Later on, I will narrate what took 
place in regard to the decennial prizes. 

I have hardly seen Mme. de Stael, but I have been sur- 
rounded by persons who have known her well. My mother 
and some of my relatives were intimate with her in their 
youth, and have told me that in her earliest years she dis- 
played a character which promised to carry her beyond the re- 
straints of nearly all social customs. At the age of fifteen she 
enjoyed the most abstract reading and the most impassioned 
works. The famous Franclieu of Geneva, finding her one 
day with a volume of J. J. Rousseau in her hand, and sur- 
rounded by books of all kinds, said to her mother, Mme. 
decker : " Take, care ; you will make your daughter a rana- 
tic or a fool." This severe judgment was -not realized, and 
yet it is impossible not to feel that there was something 
very odd, something that looked like mental alienation, in the 
manner in which Mme. de Stael acted her part as a woman 
in the world. Surrounded in her father's house by a circle 
consisting of all the men in the city who were in any way 
distinguished, excited by the conversations that she heard as 


well as by her own nature, her intellectual faculties were 
perhaps developed to excess. She then acquired the taste 
for controversy which she has since practiced so much, and 
in which she has shown herself so piquante and so distin- 
guished. She was animated even to agitation, perfectly true 
and natural, felt with force, and expressed "herself with fire. 
Harassed by an imagination which consumed her, too eager 
for notoriety and success, hampered by those laws of society 
which keep women within narrow bounds, she braved every- 
thing, conquered everything, and suffered much from this 
stormy contest between the demon that pushed her on and 
the social proprieties which could not restrain her. 

She had the misfortune to be excessively plain, and to be 
miserable on that account ; for it seemed as if she felt within 
herself a craving for successes of all kinds. "With a passably 
pretty face, she would probably have been happier, because 
she would have been calmer. Her nature was too passionate 
for her not to love strongly, and her imagination too vivid 
for her not to think that she loved often. The celebrity she 
acquired naturally brought to her much homage, by which 
her vanity was gratified. Although ahe had great kindness 
of heart, she excited both hatred and envy; she startled 
women, and she wounded many men whose superior she 
thought herself. Some of her friends, however, were always 
faithful, and her own loyalty to friendship never failed. 

When Bonaparte was made Consul, Mme. de Stael had 
already become famous through her opinions, her conduct, 
and her works. A personage like Bonaparte excited the 
curiosity, and at first even the enthusiasm, of a woman who 
was always awake to all that was remarkable. She became 
deeply interested in him sought him, pursued him every- 
where. She believed that the happy combination of so 
many distinguished qualities and of so many favorable cir- 
cumstances might be turned to the profit of her idol, Lib- 
erty ; but she quickly startled Bonaparte, who did not wish 
to be either watched or divined. Mme. de Stael, after mak- 


ing him uneasy, displeased him. He received her advances 
coldly, and disconcerted her by his bluntness and sharp 
words. He offended many of her opinions ; a certain dis- 
trust grew up between them, and, as they were both high- 
tempered, this distrust was not long in changing to hatred. 

When in Paris, Mme. de Stael received many people, and 
all political subjects were freely discussed under her roof. 
Louis Bonaparte, then very young, visited her sometimes 
and enjoyed her conversation. His brother became uneasy 
at this, and forbade his frequenting the house, and even went 
so far as to have him watched. Men of letters, publicists, 
men of the Revolution, great lords, were all to be met there. 

" This woman," said the First Consul, " teaches people to 
think who never thought before, or who had forgotten how 
to think." And there was much truth in this. The publi- 
cation of certain works by M. decker put the